Hookworms can be fatal, especially in puppies. As such, pet owners need to be vigilant for signs of hookworms in their dogs. These blood-sucking parasites can invade, inhabit, and live in the dog's small intestines. In their fourth-stage larvae, the hookworms can cause anemia and inflammation in the dog's small intestine. Active worms leave bite sites and those sites continue to seep blood.
The condition or disease described in this medical article can affect both dogs and cats. If you would like to learn more about how this disease affects cats, please visit this page in the PetMD health library.
A dog with the parasite looks unhealthy and has a poor appetite; the linings of its nostrils, lips, and ears will be pale. If hookworm larvae get into the lungs, the dog will cough, as well as present several other symptoms, including dark and tarry stool, diarrhea, and constipation. Death can come suddenly if the dog is not immediately treated.
Puppies usually acquire this condition through milk from their mothers. These infestations are always caused by ingestion or by larval penetration of the skin, generally found in contaminated water or in a contaminated environment.
Hookworms cannot be seen with the naked eye and must be therefore be microscopically examined by your veterinarian through a stool specimen. This examination will also help the veterinarian determine what course of treatment to prescribe. If some of the puppies in a litter have died, hookworms should be suspected.