How to Get Rid of Hookworms
Hookworms get their names because they have teeth built similarly to grappling hooks. Think Alien, but on a much smaller scale and without Sigourney Weaver. They live by clamping those jaws onto the body part of their host and happily gorge themselves on blood. There are four species of hookworms and they love to live inside the bodies of mammals, including humans, but they are mostly seen in dogs and cats. They are especially dangerous in kittens, puppies or senior pets.
Use Commercial Wormers
The good thing about hookworms (yes – there is something good about hookworms) is that they’re easy to kill. Any roundworm or tapeworm wormer for puppies, kittens, dogs and cats will also kill hookworms. The only wormer you really want to avoid are wormers for heartworms. They won’t do any good. Good wormers are now available over the counter as well as from your veterinarian.
Although there are a lot of websites and advertisements advocating herbs such as garlic for clearing out hookworms and other internal parasites, they are not recommended by veterinarians. Even ‘The Doctors Book of Home Remedies For Dogs and Cats” (Rodale Press, 1996) does not recommend them. Garlic, especially, can make a dog very sick.
Medicate For Pain
In the meantime, the dog or cat is probably having a mean time. Hookworms cause tummy upsets and diarrhea. The over the counter human diarrhea medications Kopectate and Pepto Bismal will also work for dogs and cats. The magic ingredient is bismuth subsalicylate. The general dosage is one teaspoon for every ten pounds that your pet weighs. This is given twice a day with an eyedropper or turkey baster that you don’t mind getting up. If you have puppies or kittens, please contact your vet about dosages.
It’s one thing to get rid of hookworms one time – but you don’t want to have to keep on having to get rid of them. These are very common parasites that can easily be transmitted to pets. One of the best ways to prevent your pets from getting infected again is to pick up their droppings every day (and the droppings of other dogs and cats, too) as well as make sure your pet doesn’t scavenge in the garbage.
Hookworms are commonly present in wild rodents or rabbits (which technically aren’t rodents). If you can make sure your pet stops hunting and eating these critters, then there is a very good chance that they will be safe from hookworms in the future.