What are these?
Hookworms are a nasty little worm. This parasite hooks onto a dog's intestine with its sharp teeth and then it pokes a hole in a blood vessel. It will then begin to suck blood from the dog. If a Boxer dog was infested with 300 hookworms, the dog would lose 5 to 10% of his blood supply each day. For this reason, hookworms can be fatal if not treated.
How does a Boxer dog get hookworms?
There are 3 ways that a dog may get hookworms. A puppy may be born with them, a puppy may get them when drinking mom's milk or a Boxer dog may swallow a hookworm larva. These microscopic larva can be found on anything from blades of grass to infected dog food dishes.
How do I know if my Boxer dog has hookworms?
Once infected, the symptoms will be clear:
- The dog will lose his or her appetite, eating much less food
or not at all
- Pale colored mucous membranes may appear in the dog's mouth
- Weakness, emaciation and slowed growth due to lack of appetite
- Diarrhea - often very black or bloody
Transference to humans:
Hookworms can pass to humans, often through the skin. This can happen if, for example, a person steps barefoot onto hookwarm larvae.
These nasty parasites will burrow into the skin, which causes a disease called cutaneous larva migrans (meaning 'creeping eruption' due to its telltale red lines that spread out. This condition is extremely itchy. Surprisingly, most infestations go away on their own in about two weeks once the larvae die. However, every now and then the larvae can actually find their way to deeper areas or the intestines.
How do I prevent this?
Preventing hookworms is done via several methods. Good hygiene is very important. The dog's feces should not be left in the yard outside. Having human family members wash their hands often is helpful as well as keeping your Boxer dog well groomed and clean. Because hookworms can travel from one dog, to an environment and then on to another dog, it is best to keep away from unclean dog parks.
In addition, if you ever feed your dog homemade food, be sure that the meat is cooked well. When cleaning your home, using bleach on hard surface floors can kill hookworm larvae. The most important prevention is to have your Boxer receive regular checkups and bring your dog to the veterinarian at the first signs of any symptoms.
What is the treatment for a Boxer dog with Hookworms?
Thankfully, despite the havoc that hookworms can play inside a dog's body, mediation can quickly get rids of these worms. Not all de-wormer meds kill hookworms and some just kill the adults but not the larvae. Ivermectin is one that is effective.