We recently heard from one of our readers in Delaware. He explained that his dog was recently diagnosed with hook worms. He wants to know when the appropriate time is to treat his yard for hookworms and wonders the temperatures that hookworms can become active outside.
Hookworms are intestinal parasites that can live in humans, dogs, cats, and other animals. However unlike other intestinal parasites, tapeworms for example, hookworms can survive in the soil and environment without a host. Most dogs and cats become infected with hookworm larvae after ingesting them, but sometimes hookworms that live in the soil penetrate through the skin and into the digestive tract of the animal. Once inside the digestive tract, hookworms attach to the intestinal lining and deposit eggs. These eggs are then expelled from the body alongside feces. Hookworms are a zoonotic parasite, which means that animal hookworms can infect humans.
Hookworms typically live outside of a host in tropical and warm climates, and can survive for 3-4 weeks, or sometimes a month, without a host. While some hookworms live in colder conditions, they cannot survive in freezing temperatures. Since it is currently winter in Delaware, we don’t think our reader needs to stress too much about treating his yard, but there are some things he can do to be safe.
The best thing he can do to control hookworms in his yard is to keep it clean and sanitary. He should always pick up pet feces to prevent future hookworm infestation in his dog. He should also always wear shoes while in his yard and always wash his hands with soap after picking up feces. Here at All About Worms, we don’t support the use of chemicals, but if our reader is interested in going that route, he can explore his options at a local home gardening store or discuss options with his vet.
In conclusion, one of our readers reached out to us because his dog has hookworms. We encourage him to clean up any feces in his yard to prevent future infestations!