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Hookworms are one of the most common parasites plaguing the companion animal world.

Image by Herbert Aust from Pixabay

They use their hooklike mouths to latch onto an animal’s intestines, where they feast on tissue fluids and blood. Infected animals can experience dramatic weight loss, bloody stool, anemia and lethargy, among other issues.

Now they’ve become multiple-drug resistant, according to new research from the University of Georgia.

Right now, U.S. veterinarians rely on three types of drugs to kill the hookworms, but the parasites appear to becoming resistant to all of them. Researchers from the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine first reported this concerning development in 2019, and new research, published recently in the International Journal for Parasitology: Drugs and Drug Resistance, provides deeper insight into where the problem started and how bad it’s since become.

For the present study, the researchers focused on current and former racing greyhounds. Dog racetracks are particularly conducive to spreading the parasite due to the sandy ground of the facilities, an ideal breeding ground for hookworms. Because of the conditions, all the dogs are dewormed about every three to four weeks.

Read more at University of Georgia