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Hookworms in Dogs

A question from a reader:

"I was wondering if you could give me the recipe for the Clorox spray for the yard.  My dog keeps getting the hookworms because they are in the soil.  I would appreciate the help. Thank you"

You may not thank me after you receive my answer.  Your dog is getting hookworm, a potentially fatal intestinal parasite, because you aren't giving it a monthly preventative.  

When one of my daughter's dogs, Roger, who was an indoor dog except when walked for his business, got hookworm so badly he had to be put down because of heart and brain damage, it was the vet's fault (not ours, her vet) for recommending she put her dogs on Revolution.   Here in Florida as well as in many other parts of the country, heartworm is an ever-present danger.  Drugs such as Revolution, Heartguard and others are given to prevent this devastating disease which destroys the dog's heart.  

Heartguard, which is a form of Ivermectin, also controls parasites.   This is virtually the only way you can prevent hookworm, other than never, ever letting your dog outside and wiping your feet well before you come inside yourself.  Revolution apparently controls heartworm, ticks and fleas, and lets the dogs die from parasites if you don't catch it in time.  Bad choice.

Roger had only been with us about two months or so.  After Roger died, we took stool samples from the other five Dobermans plus the two cats for tests.  All were negative.  But that wasn't enough for our vet or our own peace of mind.   We mixed about two or three cups of chlorine bleach with a gallon and a half of water, and sprayed pretty much the whole yard lightly, more heavily where they liked to do their business, plus very heavily where it appeared the pooper scooper had been used.  We scrubbed the sidewalk with a bleach solution, as well as the cat boxes and changed the litter. 

All our animals are indoor-outdoor pets with their own doors, kept behind fences (I trained the cats not to go into the street, although they hop over the side fences and visit the neighbors sometimes.  They have name tags and jingle bells on elastic collars.   I KNOW it's recommended that cats be kept inside, but (1) it's not their nature, although it's much safer, and (2) I happen to be able to train them, something that's not an option for most people.)   All our pets are all vaccinated for everything, neutered and given Heartguard once a month.  The reason we sprayed was to kill as many as possible of any larvae, especially since my husband gets hookworm of the skin extremely easily (creeping eruption).   In order to completely eradicate every bit of hookworm we'd have had to saturate the whole yard enough to kill all vegetation.  And then what?  The first time some strange cat had the gall to come in our yard and defecate, and it had hookworm, we'd be right back to square one.

Hookworm is so devastating to dogs, cats and humans that our vet actually came over with worming medication for all seven animals, vaccinated the cats while he was at it, who were due, and left medication and written instructions for a second worming ten days later.   Why?  Ivermectin, Heartguard and so on will mostly prevent and keep in check almost all parasites, although it's a little less effective against tapeworms.  But it will not completely eradicate infections.  That's why our vet, who is super conservative, worms all our animals once a year on general principles, depending on Heartguard to keep anything else in check the rest of the time.  Roger was so heavily infested (from his former home) that it was virtually impossible that all of our animals hadn't picked it up or would do so shortly, despite negative stool samples.

Forget depending on chlorine to prevent re-infestations.  Your dog picked this up somewhere, maybe from a cat that used your yard for a toilet.  You cannot prevent re-infection by spraying your yard.   Have your vet re-worm your dog and check to be sure it doesn't have active heartworm, then use a monthly preventative.  Yes, it costs, but less than testing and re-worming constantly.  Almost anyone that has a dog can afford it.  Eat beans, chicken or an omelet instead of beef a couple times of month; that will pay for it right there. 

Note:  If you have a children's sandbox, spray it well with a chlorine solution, turn the sand and re-spray.  Let it air out.  Then cover at night to keep out neighborhood cats.  That's a frequent source of hookworm infection.  You may keep your own animals safe from hookworm but too many people will spend a fortune on clothing, make-up, junk food, a great car, TV and other accoutrements of the good life and let their animals suffer from all sorts of diseases and maladies, who then spread it to others. 

Not just human beings, but animals and plants - we are all one world, one giant entity.  Please act accordingly.  
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