SALEM, Ore./WACO, Texas – The Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC) is the nation’s leading source on parasitic diseases threatening the health of pets and people. They have issued the Top 10 Cities Monthly HOOKWORM Report for the past month – with Waco, Texas ranking #5 in the country.

The factors in the spread of hookworm include the growth of dog parks, pet owners not removing stool from the environment and the failure to protect pets with a monthly, broad-spectrum parasite preventative.

This new monthly report alerts pet parents, veterinarians and pet-related services about the emerging threat of hookworm – a zoonotic, parasitic disease threatening the health of both pets and people. The report identifies U.S. metro areas experiencing the highest percentage increase in positive hookworm tests in the last 30 days.

Canine and feline hookworm can be lethal – particularly for puppies and kittens. In national data collected from July 1 – 31, the following ten U.S. cities had the highest percentage increase in positive hookworm tests:

(Courtesy: Companion Animal Parasite Council)

A recent study shows a 47 percent increase in the number of canine hookworm cases in the U.S. from 2012-2018 (Parasites & Vectors, 2019) – with CAPC maps reporting 212,863 positive cases of canine hookworm infections nationwide in 2018.

In dogs, signs of hookworm infection may include dark, tarry diarrhea, anemia, loss of appetite, weight loss and skin lesions. Puppies infected with hookworms are at greater risk due to blood loss.

In cats, signs of hookworm infection may include diarrhea or anemia. Respiratory disease and pneumonia may occur as larvae migrate through the lungs. In kittens, hookworms can be fatal due to blood loss.

In people, hookworm infection is generally displayed on the skin with itching at the infection site and appears as cutaneous larval migrans – a winding, threadlike, raised rash. People should avoid walking barefoot in areas of potential contamination and wear gloves and shoes when gardening.

Hookworms produce a massive number of eggs on a daily basis, heightening the risk of environmental contamination. Any outdoor area where dogs and cats have access can become reservoirs of hookworm larvae. Typical areas of contamination include neighborhood streets, common areas, backyards, gardens, sandboxes, beaches and rest areas. Regularly removing feces is critical to preventing the spread of hookworms.

CAPC recommends for all dogs and cats to be protected with monthly broad-spectrum parasite control with efficacy against hookworms year-round, and also recommends puppies and kittens be tested at least four times in the first year of life for hookworms and other intestinal parasites – and at least two times per year in adults – even if they are on year-round preventives.

To more closely pinpoint risk areas for hookworm, CAPC Parasite Prevalence Maps (www.capcvet.org) provide hookworm parasite prevalence in every county across the U.S.

Source: Companion Animal Parasite Council