Dog Disease - Hookworm Dermatitis

Hookworm dermatitis is the most common parasites in intestines found in dogs and young puppies are at a greater risk. This dog disease is also called ancylostomiasis or uncinariasis dermatitis. Hookworms feed on your puppy’s blood by attaching themselves to the lining of the intestine. Infection may lead to severe diarrhea, death and anemia. One must immediately recognize the symptoms of hookworm and refer to a vet.

The adult hookworms lay eggs in intestine of an animal and these eggs are passed into the environment through the feces of the animal. The eggs hatch within 10 days and the larvae are located in the soil. When the animal comes into contact with this soil, then the larvae enter the skin but may also enter via hair follicles. Moreover, puppies can also be affected by this disease by contracting hookworms from their infected mother. This dog disease can also infect the fetuses of a pregnant female and may be passed onto her puppies through her milk. 

Symptoms of the Hookworm Dermatitis include the following:
  • Anemia
  • Pale gums
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of hair
  • Dehydration
  • Stunted growth
  • Inability to gain weight
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Pneumonia
  • Respiratory disease
  • Coughing
  • Lesions on feet or other areas of skin
  • Erythematos papules
  • Thickened, red and alopecic skin
  • Muscles aching
  • Licking of feet

Diagnosis of Hookworm Dermatitis
Possible diagnosis when a dog has itching, alopecic and crusting dermatitis on skin is Pelodera dermatitis. Fecel exam for hookworm eggs does not confirm a diagnosis but however provides supporting evidence. The easiest, fastest, inexpensive and most reliable method for the diagnosis of this disease is skin scraping.

Treatment of Hookworm Dermatitis
Appropriate antihelminthic treatment should be given to all affected dogs followed by a prophylactic program. Proper sanitation must be practiced. Treatment includes routine worming with fenbendazole, thiabendazole or levamizole. Puppies must be wormed at two, four, six and eight weeks of age. When concurrent bacterial infection is suspected then oral antibiotics are used. It is necessary to replace dirty and moist bedding with clean and dry bedding. High-protein diet with iron supplements is necessary for a severely infected puppy. If the condition of the puppy is critical then blood transfusions may be needed. It is important to consult a veterinarian if you believe that puppy has hookworms.