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Dunlap
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PostSubject: Hookworms   Sun Jul 01, 2007 8:59 am

There are three different types of hookworm. Ancylostoma caninum, Ancylostoma braziliense and Uncinaria stenocephala.

The Ancylostoma caninum prefers a tropical climate and the Uncinaria stenocephala prefers a cooler climate. Because of the various climates these worms enjoy, hookworm can occur in most any part of the world.

Of the three the Ancylostoma caninum is the most dangerous. These worms are not particular to the age of the dog they infect and can infect any dog of any age.

The hookworm derives its name due to the fact that it looks like a tiny fishhook.

The hookworm is small at only around 1cm but do not let this fool you as they multiply in mass amounts and can cause serious health issues such as anemia and even death. Because the hookworm feeds on the blood of the dog this can often weaken the dog’s immune defenses and may lead into secondary health issues.

The hookworm’s mouth is well adapted to attach to the intestine lining of the dog and with a very sharp tooth causes the dog to bleed.

The adult hookworm lives in the intestine of the dog and lays its eggs there where it is then passed out of the dog through its feces and in lactating bitches through her milk as well. The female can lay as many as 30,000 eggs per day.

After passing out of the infected dog with the right conditions of humidity and temperature the eggs develop into larvae, which go through two molts and emerge from the egg shell as moving free living larvae. Although these larvae like shade and need moisture in which to move they are quite resistant to many environmental conditions due to their ability to bury themselves in the soil for extended periods of time.

The hookworm can either infect the dog through consumption by the dog or through borrowing through the skin of the dog.

Skin penetrating larvae go to the lungs, break out of the lungs, are swallowed and eventually establish themselves as adults in the large intestine.

Larvae, which enter the dog through the mouth establish themselves immediately in the small intestine.

After infection the worm has a relatively short life cycle and in as little as two weeks can be mature egg producers. Because of this and the fact that treatment can only occur when the worm has established itself in the intestine completely curing the dog of such infection can be difficult. Because of these issues in treatment it is important once a dog is known (or suspected) to be infected that a regular treatment schedule begins and lasts for several weeks at a time.

Typically a treatment program can be administered every other week by the dogs owner but in cases where hookworm infection is severe and environmental conditions are right treatment should be done in weekly intervals.

As mentioned before lactating bitches can often be the source of infection to its pups. Although the hookworm may pass through the tissue and infect the pup inutero in most cases it happens in very large numbers through the milk. Because of this pups as young as two or three weeks of age can actually have adult hookworms in their intestine. Pups are not able to withstand the blood loss due to hookworm infections because their blood replacing organs are not fully developed, so if they develop anemia it can be rapidly fatal for them.

In developing and treating the hookworm one should follow these following suggestions:

-Keep your dogs run and living area dry.
-Avoid having shade over the dirt section of the dogs living and recreation areas.
-Where shade is allowed they should be concrete or raised boards.
-Minimize dirt in living and recreation areas where possible and allow good drainage.
-Pick up droppings daily where practical.
-Prevent grass outside runs from growing through the fence and providing shade for larvae. Because dogs like to lay in shaded areas this provides a perfect opportunity for larvae to infect the dog by borrowing through the skin.
-Make dirt runs as large as possible (if dirt is unavoidable). This will give a dilution effect.
-Limit shared areas between pups and adult dogs.
-Use a strict program of treatment

Worming a dog may begin at one week of age and then continue every week through week four and then every other week thereafter until week twelve. After week twelve, treatment should be given once every three months.

Worming products can be typically purchased at most pet supply stores and can be given orally. Typically this comes in a liquid that has a similar taste to banana. When looking for a worming product one should make sure that it contains the ingredient Pyrantel Pamoate, which has been proven to be effective in the treatment process.

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