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(hookworm infection)

General Information

Hookworms are relatively common intestinal parasites of dogs, cats and other animals. Adult worms live in the small intestine, and their eggs pass out with the stool. Diagnosis is by identifying the eggs during microscopic examination of the stool.

Animals become infected with hookworms by eating infectious eggs or larvae, penetration of the skin or footpads by larvae, or transmission of larvae from the mother while the fetus is still in the uterus. The time from consumption of infectious larvae to the appearance of eggs in the stool is 15-26 days.

Hookworms are one of the most serious intestinal parasites, as they feed on the blood of their host animal and can cause severe anemia. In young, weak or malnourished animals, hookworms can cause sudden collapse and death. Older, more resistant dogs may suffer a slow, progressive wasting disease. Weight loss, diarrhea and tarry or bloody stools frequently occur in animals with hookworms.


Public Health Significance

Hookworm larvae can penetrate human skin and cause a skin disorder known as cutaneous larval migrans or creeping eruption. This infection is not common, but anyone who develops a skin rash after being in contact with a pet with hookworms should consult a physician.


Important Points in Treatment

1. Treatment consists of eliminating the worms and correcting any anemia and malnutrition. Hospital treatment may be required in severe infections.

2. Medication must be given as directed. Call the doctor if you cannot give the medication as directed.

3. Diet: Follow the instructions checked.

____Feed the normal diet.

____A special diet is necessary. Feed the following: ______________________________________________

4. Good sanitation is essential. Promptly remove all stools from the area where your pet is confined.

5. Control measures: Regular microscopic stool examinations are the best means of early detection of hookworm problems. Your pet's stool should be checked every ____ months. Products are available for treating contaminated dog pens, runs and tie-out areas. Discuss this with the doctor if your pet is kept in a confined area. In addition, heartworm preventive medications that also prevent hookworms and roundworms offer the surest method of hookworm control.

Notify the Doctor if Any of the Following Occur:

* Your pet is weak or depressed.

* Your pet is reluctant to eat, has diarrhea or vomits.

* Your pet has dark or bloody stools.

____A stool sample is requested. The sample should be the size of a quarter and less than 24 hours old.