886 S Pine St, PO Box 277

Grantsburg, WI 54840

Phone: (715) 463-2536

1(800) 924-0588

140 Evergreen Square SW

Pine City, MN 55063

Phone: (320) 629-7474

How Much Do You Know About Hookworm?

About Hookworm
Larvae are young hookworms that hatch from eggs found in the soil. Your dog or cat can acquire hookworm by rooting in the soil and accidentally eating one. It’s also possible for your pet to pick up hookworm when she licks dirt off her fur. Once inside your pet’s body, hookworm live in the lining of the intestinal wall. They feed on your dog or cat’s blood for survival. 
If the hookworm reproduces, the eggs get into your pet’s digestive tract and get into the environment through her feces. Puppies and kittens can also acquire hookworm from their mother’s breast milk and be infected with them from the first day of life.
Symptoms of Hookworm Infection in Puppies, Kittens, and Adult Pets
Puppies and kittens infected with hookworm may start to exhibit symptoms by two weeks of age. The most common ones include:
  • Malabsorption of nutrients
  • Dehydration
  • Protein deficiencies
  • Diarrhea
  • Stunted growth
  • Reduced energy
  • Low body weight
  • Blood in the stool
Pets who acquire hookworm as an adult will typically show skin irritation in the form of dermatitis on the paw pads. Adult pets may also become anemic due to the worms releasing an anticoagulant in the intestines. This usually results in diarrhea, weight loss, lethargy, and dehydration.
Prevention of Hookworm
The website Pets and Parasites recommends that puppies receive de-worming medication from a veterinarian when they are two, four, six, and eight weeks old. This is due to the high percentage of puppies who already have this intestinal parasite. Heartworm prevention products for older dogs prevents this worm as well, so a separate hookworm protocol is not normally necessary. Your puppy should have a fecal examination up to four times during the first year of life and one to two times annually once he becomes an adult.
Kittens should receive de-worming medication to prevent heartworm every other week when they are three to nine weeks old. The schedule after that is the same as it is for puppies. Unfortunately, kittens also have a high rate of hookworm infestation that they acquire from their mother’s breast milk. Keeping cats indoors helps to prevent them from getting hookworm found in soil. 
Treating Hookworm in Dogs and Cats
A positive diagnosis of hookworm can only be made from a stool sample. It can take a few weeks for the parasite to start shedding eggs, which is why early treatment for puppies and kittens is so important. Your pet then needs to complete a course of medication to kill adult worms in the intestines. The final step is to bring your dog or cat back to Grantsburg Animal Hospital or Wild River Veterinary Clinic to have their stool checked again. We will either give you the all-clear or discuss additional treatment options.
If you suspect your pet has hookworm, please contact us at 1-800-924-0588 to request an evaluation. We also encourage you to get your puppy or kitten started on a de-worming protocol right away.
Photo Credit: AntiGerasim / Getty Images

Tapeworm 101: What You Need to Know About This Internal Parasite

Tapeworm 101
If you need another reason to protect your dog or cat from fleas, consider that this external parasite can transmit tapeworm that attach themselves to your pet’s intestines. Tapeworm is a unique parasite because it consists of multiple parts that each has its own reproductive system. Because they are so small, it can be hard for you to see them on your pet. When owners do spot tapeworm, it’s typically in the feces, on the rear end of the pet, or near where the animal sleeps. Tapeworm look like tiny grains of rice or seeds.
Types of Tapeworm 
Fleas are the most common carriers of tapeworm and attract a type known as dipylidium caninum. Your pet may also acquire tapeworm by eating a rodent or being bitten by one. Echinococcus and taenia use smaller rodents such as mice, rabbits, and squirrels as a host. They may also show up in sheep or deer. The best way to prevent the latter type of tapeworm is not to allow your dog or cat to eat any type of prey animal.
How Tapeworm Affects Companion Animals
According to the website Pets and Parasites, tapeworm produce few symptoms in dogs and cats. The most obvious signs are white specks in the feces and worm segments on the rear end. It’s only when your pet has numerous tapeworm that problems with weight loss and lethargy start to appear. Occasionally, a dog or cat may vomit a worm that has moved into the stomach. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to detect tapeworm in a routine fecal examination. If you think your pet has tapeworm, please contact Grantsburg Animal Hospital or Wild River Veterinary Clinic for a prompt evaluation.
Treating Tapeworm Infestation
This type of internal parasite is much easier to treat than many others, including heartworm. Treatment normally consists of a drug given orally or by injection that kills the tapeworm and causes it to dissolve in your pet’s intestines. It probably won’t show up in your pet’s stool because the worm is typically digested before it dies. Medication does not produce any unpleasant side effects for your pet.
Preventing your dog or cat from getting fleas and not allowing him or her to chew on animal carcasses is essential in preventing this internal parasite. We offer several varieties of flea prevention in our online store for your convenience. We encourage you to use these products year-round to prevent both fleas and tapeworm in your pet.

Our clinics carry Interceptor Plus, a monthly chewable for dogs that prevents heartworm disease.  It also treats and controls roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, and tapeworms.  We also have Drontal Plus Chewables for dogs for treatment and control of roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, and tapeworms.  For cats, we have Drontal tablets for treatment and control of tapeworms, hookworms, and roundworms.  We also have Profender for cats, a topical solution that treats and controls hookworm, roundworm, and tapeworm infections.

Photo Credit: Cranach / Getty Images