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How does a dog get hookworms?

October 11, 2016 Category: Parasite education

Dealing with a hookworm infection (Ancylostoma caninum) is no fun for you or your dog. But how did this happen? Here’s a quick breakdown of the hookworm lifecycle in dogs to help you understand how dogs get infected with hookworms.

Hookworm lifecycle1

Hookworm eggs are passed into the environment in animal feces, where they hatch and develop until they reach the infective larval stage.

Dogs become infected with hookworms by ingesting these larvae, by ingesting vertebrate hosts or cockroaches with infective larvae in their tissues, or by having the larvae penetrate their skin. As with roundworms, the larvae can migrate throughout the body. Some hookworm larvae may migrate and remain dormant in the dog’s tissues.  

Various triggers cause the larvae to travel to the small intestine, where they mature into adult worms. These adult hookworms become bloodsuckers that survive by attaching to the walls of the intestines.

What to do if your dog has a hookworm infection

Treating and controlling a hookworm (Ancylostoma caninum) infection in your dog starts with talking to your veterinarian. You should ask your veterinarian about treatment with Trifexis® (spinosad + milbemycin oxime), the once-monthly, beef-flavored tablet that kills fleas, prevents heartworm disease and treats and controls adult hookworm, roundworm and whipworm infections. Trifexis is approved for use in dogs and puppies 8 weeks of age and older and weigh 5 pounds or greater. 

Hookworm Lifecycle

Learn more about intestinal parasites