Chart: 6 zoonoses you should know—Hookworm infection

Chart: 6 zoonoses you should know—Hookworm infection

This in-depth chart of six common zoonoses is just in time for the spring parasite explosion.
Mar 12, 2010
veterinary_hookworm veterinary_tapeworm veterinary_roundworm veterinary_toxoplasmosis veterinary_cryptosporidiosis veterinary_lyme_disease

Common disease name

Hookworm infection
(Hookworms are short [6- to 12-mm], thick worms that are whitish to reddish brown with a hooked front end.)

Scientific name

Dogs: Ancylostoma caninum, Ancylostoma braziliense, Uncinaria stenocephala

Cats: Ancylostoma tubaeformis, Ancylostoma braziliense, Uncinaria stenocephala

Method of infection

All: Ingestion of larvae from feces, skin penetration

Puppies and kittens: Transmammary

People: Skin penetration with larva in infected soil (Ancylostoma species); causes cutaneous larva migrans


Puppies: Anemia and pale mucous membranes, ill thrift, failure to gain weight, poor hair coat, dehydration, and dark and tarry diarrhea (melena)

Adult dogs: Few signs if well-nourished and immunocompetent; often source of infection in pups; in cases of higher worm load, could cause anemia, anorexia, emaciation, and weakness, along with black and tarry diarrhea. These are also more likely to occur with malnutrition and stress.

Kittens and adult cats: Can cause anemia, diarrhea, and weight loss in kittens; large numbers can be fatal.

Puppies and kittens: Respiratory disease and pneumonia may occur when large numbers of larvae migrate through the lungs.

All: Penetration of larval hookworm occasionally causes a dermatitis with erythema, pruritus, and papules. These are most commonly seen on the animal’s feet, particularly in the interdigital spaces.

People: Red, itchy, serpentine lesions on the skin


Pyrantel pamoate (dogs), fenbendazole (dogs), moxidectin (dogs), milbemycin oxime (dogs and cats), emodepside/praziquantel (cats), selamectin (cats); in all severely infected animals, anthelmintic treatment must be combined with supportive therapy to keep the animal alive until the drugs can kill the worms.

People most at risk

Farmers, gardeners, landscapers, sunbathers lying on sand, plumbers, electricians, exterminators, and children playing in potentially contaminated areas


  • Promptly remove animal feces from the yard.
  • Cover children's sandboxes when not in use.
  • Wear shoes and gloves while gardening.
  • Wash hands thoro ughly after playing outside or exposure to soil (especially dirt under the fingernails).
  • Treat puppies and kittens with appropriate anthelmintics when they are 2, 4, 6, and 8 weeks of age, and give them monthly preventives as soon as the label recommendations allow.
  • Treat females at day 40 of pregnancy until five weeks past delivery following label recommendations, and keep the females out of contaminated areas during pregnancy. The bitch should be whelped and the pups should be suckled in a clean environment.
  • Keep dogs on leashes or in fenced yards and keep cats indoors to help prevent ingestion of infected animal or feces.
  • Monitor children playing outside in sandboxes and parks.


Photo galleries

5 tips to stop stressing over diabetic patient monitoring

FIRSTLINE - Oct 06, 2015

By Jessica Midence, DVM, DACVIM

Mrs. Smith is hypervigilant and Mr. McKinley is laissez faire. Your veterinary team can manage these pet owners' expectations with these five fairly simple steps for more effective home monitoring without the frustration.

Gentle gestures for euthanasia

FIRSTLINE - Sep 28, 2015

By Brent Dickinson

How you handle a pet’s euthanasia is one of the most memorable moments you share with clients. So make sure your veterinary team strikes the right note.

Self-test: Got the skills to be your boss's favorite?

FIRSTLINE - Sep 24, 2015

By Kristine Suszczynski

Take this quick quiz to see if you’re stacking up the skills that will get you noticed at your veterinary practice.