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Deworming your pets is essential since hookworm can affect you and your family

Microscope magnified view of hookworm mouth

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Routine deworming is strongly recommended for your pets since humans can be infected by worms from dogs. Several weeks ago we looked at how to control roundworms, today we will talk about hookworks.

Similar to tapeworms and roundworms, hookworms are intestinal parasites that live in the digestive system of your dog or cat.  The hookworm attaches to the lining of the intestinal wall and feeds on your dog’s blood. Its eggs are ejected into the digestive tract and pass into the environment through your dog’s feces

Some hookworms of dogs can infect humans by penetrating the skin. This is most likely to occur when walking barefoot on the beach, working in the garden or other areas where pets may deposit feces. Infection usually results in an itching sensation at the point where the larvae enter the skin and visible tracks on the skin. The condition is easily treated but can cause mild to extreme discomfort in the affected person. One species of hookworm that infects dogs is known to develop in the human intestine, too, where it may cause disease.

Hookworms are a serious threat to dogs – especially puppies.   They can cause blood loss, weight loss, diarrhea and/or death.

Hookworms live in your dog’s digestive system but part of their life cycle is in the surroundings where the eggs fall and hatch. Keeping your dog’s environment clean and keeping your dog away from contaminated areas are the best steps for prevention.

Larvae (young hookworms) that hatch from hookworm eggs live in the soil. These larvae can infect your dog simply through contact and penetration of the skin and through the dog eating the larvae when they ingest dirt or during their routine licking (cleaning).


Hookworms suck blood and therefore cause internal blood loss. They are a serious threat to dogs, especially young puppies that may not survive the blood loss. In older animals the blood loss may be more chronic, and the pet may have diarrhea and show weight loss.


Similar to steps for prevention of other intestinal parasites, it is essential to keep your dog’s surroundings clean and prevent the dog from being in contaminated areas.

Puppies should be treated for hookworms at 2, 4, 6, and 8 weeks of age with a deworming medication you can get from your veterinarian. This frequent treatment schedule is recommended due to the very high rate of hookworm infection in newborn puppies.

Fecal examinations can be performed.   Nursing mother dogs should be treated along with their puppies.

If one of your pets needs veterinary help, please visit us at the Veterinary Clinic in Tafuna.


Our Pet of the Week is Gigi a young female dog who is ready to go home with you. If you are interested in adopting one of our pets, please come visit us at the Veterinary Clinic in Tafuna or visit our Facebook page: — you’ll find lots of pets who would be happy to go home with you.  [courtesy photo]