What Do Hookworms Look Like in Dog Poop?

What Do Hookworms Look Like in Dog Poop

Dogs can suffer with infected with hookworms at any point in their lives. These internal parasites live in your dog’s digestive system and can lead to blood loss and are riskier in puppies.

The eggs of the hookworm will pass through the digestive tract and come out in your dog’s poop. The actual hookworms can also come out in dog poop, but what do they look like?

Hookworms in dog poop look like very thin, short strings with a hook-like shape on one end. But unlike other parasitic worms, you might not be able see hookworms in your dog’s poop with the naked eye as they are microscopic.

Below I will explain why these tiny parasites are considered the deadliest type of worms, how your dog can get a hookworm infection, the symptoms, and what to look for in your dog’s poop.

Before I go on though, even if you can’t see what look like hookworms in your dog’s poop, it doesn’t mean they aren’t there. If you suspect your dog has a hookworm infection, book a vet appointment so the dog’s feces can be examined for parasites under a microscope.

So, whilst it’s unlikely you can see hookworms in dog’s poop, it’s still a risk.

Do hookworms come out in dog poop?

Hookworm issues in dogs are more common than you think. Any dog can get infected — from the outdoor type to the one that spends most of its time on the couch.

Much like other types of canine worm infections, hookworms give many dog owners the creeps. And I understand why. There’s just something scary about the thought of hookworms making your dog’s gut their home.

Most canine worms are always present in a dog’s stool. So, if you suspect your dog has a parasitic infection, the proof will often be in the poop which is why pet owners are often advised to check out their dog’s poop routinely.

Nothing pleasant about that, I know. But that’s one of the best ways to know how healthy or unhealthy your canine pal is.

The only difference is that some worms (like tapeworms and roundworms) are well visible to the human eye, but others aren’t. Unfortunately for hookworms, you can’t see them in your dog’s poop. They are too tiny to be spotted with naked eyes.

Hookworms are less than an inch long and not even a millimeter wide. This makes them microscopic. So even if there are several of hookworms moving in your dog’s fresh poop, you won’t spot any.

Only your vet can when they examine your dog’s stool sample under a microscope.

These parasites look like thin, short strings with a hook-like mouth on one end. This is where the name “hookworm” came from. A hookworm is as thin as a strand of hair.

What do hookworms do to dogs?

You’re probably familiar with the phrase “small but dangerous”. Now that’s precisely what hookworms are.

These parasites may be tiny, but the harm they cause to dogs is worse than what other worms can do. Hookworms infect a dog’s intestinal tract and, using their hook-like mouths, attach themselves to the intestinal walls.

Your dog’s intestinal lining has several tiny blood vessels. While other worms feed on the food passing through the intestines, hookworms survive by sucking blood from the blood vessels in a dog’s intestines. This explains why “blood-sucking parasite” is a hookworm’s second name.

Hookworms are the quickest route to life-threatening anemia in dogs.

Experts say that a single hookworm can make a dog lose as much as 0.1 ml of blood. That’s just one hookworm. Imagine how much blood loss your canine friend risks if they have several hookworms inside their intestines.

These worms reproduce and multiply in a dog’s intestinal tract. Without treatment, a dog can die (mostly because of severe anemia).

While you can’t see hookworms in your dog’s poop, something else can tell you if your canine friend is infected — dark, bloody diarrhea.

As hookworms carry on with their blood-sucking mission, they form wounds in a dog’s intestinal lining. These wounds bleed, and the blood mixes with stool during defecation.

You should see your vet immediately if you notice a dark, bloody stool. Of course, carry a sample of the fresh stool sample so your vet can confirm whether hookworms are the culprits.

Hookworm infection is especially life-threatening to puppies. Our young furry friends don’t have much blood compared to adult dogs. If they have hookworms, the blood loss can be severe.

Both adult dogs and puppies exhibit similar symptoms when suffering from untreated hookworm infestation:

  • Vomiting and bloody diarrhea.
  • General body weakness.
  • Disinterest in playing and exercising.
  • Paleness in the gums and eyelids.
  • Itchiness on the skin and paws.
  • Intestinal discomfort.
  • Weight loss.
  • Coughing.
  • Appetite loss.

How dogs get hookworms

Our canine friends contract hookworms from the environment (because of other infected dogs). Here’s how this happens.

If a dog has hookworms, the female worms will lay eggs inside when their body. And when the dog poops on the ground, their stool will have hookworm eggs.

While on the soil, these eggs hatch into larvae and wait for the next healthy dog to attack. The larvae will mature into adult worms once they enter a dog’s body. Your dog will pick up the hookworm larvae in the following ways:

  • Through the skin when they lie or walk on the larvae-infested dirt.
  • Orally if they groom their body after lying on the infected soil. Or if they eat something from that soil.

Newborn puppies can get hookworm infection through their mother’s milk. Lactating female dogs get these worms from the environment and pass them to their babies through breast milk.

It can also be a prenatal transmission issue. What I mean is, if a pregnant dog has a hookworm infection, the unborn puppies can get it while inside the uterus.

Hookworm larvae can also travel to the lungs through the bloodstream. If you recall, I’ve mentioned coughing as a symptom of hookworm infection in dogs.  Now you understand why this happens.

These nasty parasites can irritate the lung, giving the infected dog an urge to cough. If the dog doesn’t get treated, the hookworms damage the lungs and cause severe pneumonia.

The good news is, hookworm infection is treatable. Your dog can fully recover even after getting that dreaded hookworm diagnosis. Anti-parasite medications make a recovery possible.

Infected dogs respond well (and quickly) to treatment. And if your canine pal has serious anemia because of these internal; parasites, they’ll need a blood transfusion.

After completing treatment, your vet will do a follow-up fecal test to ensure all the nasty parasites are gone.

Let me add that you get hookworms from your four-legged buddy. So never handle your dog’s poop without gloves or walk barefoot in areas where they poop often. And if your dog tests positive for hookworms, you should see the doctor.

How to prevent your dog getting a hookworm infection

Like other worm infections, you can take preventative measures to protect your dog from first-time hookworm infestation or reinfection.  Here’s what I’m talking about:

  • If you have a young puppy, speak to your vet about a deworming schedule for hookworms. Make sure your little canine friend never misses any deworming medication as per your vet’s instructions.
  • Take your dog’s stool for fecal tests regularly. That way, your vet may be able to identify any hookworm infection if it’s in the early stages.
  • Hygiene is everything. Make sure your compound is always clean and free from any poop. If your neighbor’s dog has a habit of pooping on your lawn, do something to stop this behavior.
  • Always disinfect your yard and your dog’s kennel (to kill any existing hookworm larvae). You can talk to your vet about the appropriate disinfectant to use.

Related questions

Can you see hookworms in dog poop?

Unfortunately, you can’t because hookworms are microscopic. You can only see these parasites when your dog’s poop is under a microscope.

Do dogs poop out dead hookworms?

No, that’s not correct. When a dog infected with hookworms does a poop, the worms in the fresh stool will be alive.

What does dog poop with worms look like?

If a dog has an intestinal parasite, they’ll excrete loose stool. And if the worms in question are hookworms, the loose stool will be bloody.

What are the first signs of hookworms in dogs?

The initial symptoms of hookworms include bloody diarrhea, skin and paw itchiness, appetite loss, disinterest in normal activities (play and exercise), coughing, vomiting, weight loss, and pale eyelids and gums.

What do roundworms look like in dog poop?

The PetMD.com website say:

“Roundworms are light in color and look like spaghetti. Roundworms can be up to several inches long.”

What do tapeworms look like in dog poop?

The VCA Animal hospital websites says:

“Tapeworms may reach up to 11 inches (30 cm) in length. As the adult matures, individual segments, called proglottids, are passed in the feces of an infected dog. The proglottids are about 1/2” (12 mm) long and about 1/8” (3 mm) wide and look like grains of rice or cucumber seeds.”

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Marc Aaron

I write about the things I've learned about owning a dog, the adventures we have, and any advice and tips I've picked up along the way.

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