Hookworms are another intestinal parasite that can be found in dogs and cats.  Like other intestinal parasites, hookworms actually attach themselves to the lining of the intestinal wall so that they can feed on your dog’s/cat's blood.  Pets can contract hookworms from eggs that live in the soil either by eating the infected soil, grooming themselves after being outdoors, or direct penetration through the skin.  Puppies and kittens can get them from their mother before they are weaned.  Symptoms may not be noticed until infection loads become heavier.  Signs to watch for include loss of appetite, weight loss, diarrhea or other abnormal looking stools, anemia (which can be life threatening especially to puppies), and rarely skin irritations.  Diagnosis is confirmed by looking at a fecal sample under the microscope and identifying hookworm eggs.   Typically, this is performed at each monthly puppy/kitten exam and annually with wellness exams on adults.  There are medications that are given by mouth to treat for roundworms.  However, most of the monthly heartworm preventatives have a dewormer in them that treats for hookworms as well.  If your dog or cat is diagnosed with hookworms, talk to one of our veterinarians about a treatment that is right for your pet since hookworms may require multiple treatments to kill.  

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