Hookworm infestation, or ancylostomiasis, can be a very serious pet health problem, especially when it occurs in young animals. These deadly parasites invade your pet's intestines and live off of its blood. Since hookworms can create so many problems for your dog or cat, it is important to learn about them.
How Hookworm Infestation Affects Your Pet
Hookworm infestation occurs either through penetration of the skin or ingestion. Hookworms are shed through an infected animal's feces and can found in contaminated dirt, grass, water, litter boxes and water. Your dog can develop these worms by eating infected feces, walking in an infected area, or drinking an infected mother's milk. In severe cases of ancylostomiasis, hookworms can cause your pet to become anemic. Additionally, the small intestine will become inflamed, and the worms will create lesions that can cause intestinal bleeding. If left untreated, your pet's condition could become extremely serious and even fatal.
Common Symptoms of Hookworm Infestation
The symptoms your pet may experience if it has hookworms will vary depending on its age, overall general health and the severity of the condition. As such, some pets may display more or less symptoms than others. However, there are some warning signs you can look for, and they are listed below. Common Symptoms of Hookworms in Pets: Lesions on the Bottom of the Feet, Lesions in Between the Toes, Coughing, Dark-Colored Stools, Diarrhea and/or Constipation, Loss of Appetite and Weight Loss, Lethargy and/or Depression, Anemia and Paleness and Intestinal Bleeding/Bloody Stools.
Treatments for Hookworm Infestation
There are several medications that your veterinarian may choose to use for treating hookworm infestation. However, the most common medicine include Panacur, Nemex, Vercom paste, Telmintic and Drontal plus. Since new adult worms can appear soon after the initial worming, it is essential that treatment is repeated in about one to two weeks. Heartgard plus and Interceptor can help prevent future hookworm infestations as well. It is also important for you to keep your pet's elimination areas and bedding clean to prevent any infestations. While there is a strain of hookworms that can occur in humans, they do not present any serious problems and typically go away on their own.
Any breed of dog or cat can become infested with hookworms. However, there are some conditions that can increase your pet's vulnerability to them. These conditions are as follows: eating contaminated feces, eating contaminated dirt, walking on contaminated soil or grass, walking on contaminated cat litter, walking on contaminated carpeting or other flooring/newspaper and drinking the milk of an infested mother.
When adding a dog or cat to your family you want to make sure your pet is happy, healthy and protected. During its lifetime your pet is exposed to many illnesses and diseases and some breeds are affected by a congenital disease which is a condition existing at birth. At these moments when your pet is ill or maybe needs surgery, you want to be protected for the unexpected and high veterinarian costs.