Worm Advice

Hookworm

What do they look like and where do they live?

  • Adult hookworms live in the gut and are between 5 and 16mm in length. They are characterised by having cutting plates and teeth in their mouths
  • In the UK they mainly affect dogs, with cat infections being very rare
  • Hookworm eggs are passed in the dog’s and even foxes’ poo, and are left in the environment
  • Hookworms latch onto the intestinal wall and feed on blood, they live in the small intestine

How can my pet contract hookworm?

  • Animals are infected by ingesting larvae from the environment
  • A UK study shows 68%1 of foxes are infected with fox hookworm, dogs are at risk of contracting this via fox poo
  • Dogs can also become infected, by eating a host (such as small mammals) containing infective larvae; which develop into adult hookworm in the intestine
  • In addition to this larvae can penetrate skin and cause infection, usually of skin around foot 1 Richards, D.T.,Harris S., Lewis, J.W., Parasitology (1995) 59(1) 39-51. Epidemiological studies on intestinal helminth parasites of rural and urban red foxes in the UK.

How will this parasite affect my pet?

Symptoms of intestinal infection may include:

  • Diarrhoea
  • Anaemia
  • Anorexia
  • Lethargy

Can this parasite affect my health?

  • In some parts of the world hookworm can also affect humans through a larval invasion of the skin, which occurs usually in the skin of feet if walking in areas without shoes