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Hookworms (Ancylostoma and Uncinaria)

These blood sucking parasites are 5-16 mm in length. They are a particular danger to puppies and can cause death. Their life cycle is similar to the toxocara canis roundworm in that it moves into the lungs to mature, then re-enters the small intestine.

What are the symptoms of hookworms?

Due to the leaching nature of this parasite, drawing nutrients from its host, your pet will appear lethargic and depressed and generally not himself.  Symptoms to look out for are: –

  • Poor appetite
  • Anaemia
  • Persistent cough
  • Tar-like stools (consistency and colour)
  • Dull coat
  • Diarrhoea or constipation
  • Weight loss

How do dogs get hookworms?

Similar to roundworm, pets can become infected by ingesting the larvae, either as puppies from their mother’s milk or from another animal’s faeces, contaminated soil or by eating small infected animals such as mice.  A large number of foxes are understood to be infected with hookworm, which brings an added risk to dogs where foxes are common.  Hookworm larvae can also penetrate the skin so merely walking across contaminated ground poses a risk of infection.

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