Helminthic diseases are extremely widespread in dogs. Eggs of parasitic worms are found everywhere in the environment, but not all breeders practice preventive treatment of their pets. Such an irresponsible approach can end badly. One of the most serious helminth pathologies is hookworm in dogs.
Hookworms (Ancylostoma and Uncinaria) are some of the most common intestinal canine parasites. (puppies and young animals are especially often sick), can cause severe anemia and prolonged profuse diarrhea. This is largely due to their aggressive attitude towards the host: these worms have pronounced hooks for fixing on the intestinal mucosa, which are highly traumatic for the tissues. In addition, the hookworm also has the corresponding structure of the oral apparatus: massive cutting inserts that allow parasites to “grab” large pieces of tissue at a time.
Note that worms of these species can cause skin disease caused by the introduction of larvae into the subcutaneous tissue. The table below shows the main species of hookworms and animals in which parasites of one kind or another can cause disease.
|Latin name||Infected hosts|
|A. caninum||Dogs, foxes, cases of human infection recorded|
|A. braziliense||Dogs, cats, foxes, cause skin disease in humans|
|U.stenocephala||Dogs, cats, foxes|
|A. tubaeforme||Cats, cases of infection of dogs still not recorded|
The prevalence of these parasites in the external environment is very wide. This is explained by both the fertility of the female worms and the variability of the pathways of infection: through food contaminated with eggs and water, when animals come in contact with their relatives. Larvae of parasites can cause inflammatory skin diseases, and after entering the subcutaneous tissue, they migrate to the internal organs. In addition, dogs with a 90% probability will contract unborn puppies if their mother already has hookworm. In addition, the transmission of parasites through milk is possible.
It should be noted that the "dog" species are much more aggressive in relation to the carrier. So, if in the case of cats, the lethal outcome in hookworm infection is quite rare, and similar cases are typical except for very small kittens, then in dogs this can happen much more often.
Important! Species affecting canids often cause severe skin diseases in humans. If the larvae migrate to the internal organs, things may end badly. In addition, cases of human intestinal hookworm have been repeatedly recorded, which again were caused by "canine" types of worms.
Life cycle of parasites
Adult worms live in the small intestine of the host, where they feed on the blood and tissues of the latter. Adult individuals multiply intensively, as a result of which hundreds of thousands of eggs enter the environment with feces. "Ready" larvae come to light in 2-10 days, depending on the temperature and humidity of the environment. These larvae are excellent swimmers traveling in raindrops and dew over long distances. Accordingly, they enter the host, either swallowed by licking or chewing the grass, or by invading the skin on the pads of the paws. Consider the main ways of infection.
Through the skin. The larvae that penetrate the body through the skin migrate through the bloodstream to the lungs and trachea, from where they cough up and enter the digestive organs as a result of the cough reflex. They join the wall of the intestine, where they intensively feed, grow and reach the adult stage. Some larvae can migrate to muscle or adipose tissue. In this case, their encapsulation occurs, the further development of the parasite becomes impossible.
By swallowing. The simplest type of infection. Larvae simply fall into the digestive tract, where they “root” and grow. But, as in the past case, some individuals migrate to the muscles and adipose tissue, where they are encapsulated.
Intrauterine infection / infection through milk. If there are already hookworm larvae in the body during pregnancy or breastfeeding, then they can easily overcome the placental barrier, as well as easily get into milk. The danger of canine parasites of this species is also that when they become infected, the likelihood of developing postpartum complications and gynecological infections increases sharply.
Clinical signs and therapy
Consider the symptoms of hookworm in dogs. Larvae and adult worms, attaching themselves to the intestinal mucosa, "do not deny themselves anything", sucking up blood to the dump and scraping off a huge amount of organ tissues. It is not surprising that due to their actions the animal quickly develops anemia. All visible mucous membranes noticeably turn pale, the dog becomes weak and lethargic. In the feces, "melena" is often found, that is, feces become like tar (blacken due to overcooked blood). If the main injuries of the intestine are located closer to its thick section, then impurities of pure blood are found in the feces.
Profuse diarrhea often develops. The skin of such animals is dry, if you put it in a crease with your fingers, then it does not even out for a very long time. The coat is “shaggy” and also dry. In addition, in severe cases, dogs also get pneumonia (with mass migration of larvae). If the case is launched, a fatal outcome is very likely.
The diagnosis is based on the detection of eggs in the feces. It is important to remember that puppies often have to rely on clinical signs (there are no adult worms laying eggs yet). How is ankylostomosis treated in dogs?
Oddly enough, but very severe pathology, fraught with multiple complications, can be easily and quickly cured: any agent based on milbemycin, pyrantel or praziquantel is suitable for this. You just need to remember that most of these drugs do not affect migratory larval forms, and therefore, after ten days, the treatment is repeated.