Hookworm is a nematode parasite that infects the small intestines of dogs and cats. Hookworms attach to the small intestinal wall by using six sharp teeth, sucking blood from the host. There are several species of hookworm: Ancylostoma caninum, A. tubaeforeme, A. braziliense, and Uncinaria stenocephala.
Dogs and cats become infected either by directly eating a larvae or eating a rodent that is infected with hookworm larvae. Additionally, A. tubaeforme and A. braziliense species can penetrate the skin and cause infection. Lastly, many puppies are infected transmammary (via nursing).
Humans can become infected by accidentally ingesting lavae, or via skin penetration. Larvae can penetrate human skin and cause cutaneous larval migrans, an annoying but generally self limiting problem. Occasionally there can be more severe complications, involving larval migration to organs and muscle.
There are many treatment options available, and a number of heartworm and flea preventatives work as well (Trifexis®, Heartgard®, Revolution®, Interceptor®).
Our staff can recommend the proper preventatives for your pet.