Definition of Hookworms
Hookworms are internal parasites that live in a dog’s digestive tract. Puppies become infected when hookworm larvae pass through the placenta of infected bitches. Newborns can get hookworms through their mother’s milk if she is infected. Dogs of any age can get hookworms from the feces of infected animals, such as by licking their paws or grooming themselves after coming into contact with infected fecal material. Adult hookworms, which can reach 9 inches in length, can directly penetrate a dog’s skin and work their way into its bloodstream. These parasites spend most of their lives inside the small intestine, where they voraciously feed on blood and leave raw, weeping sores at the sites of their bites. Dogs with heavy hookworm infestation will become anemic, weak and have abdominal pain, diarrhea and stunted growth. If not treated, hookworm infestation can be fatal. People can also become infected with hookworms.