Home Immunity Research Roundup: Hookworms Build Immunity to Common Dewormers

Research Roundup: Hookworms Build Immunity to Common Dewormers

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194 – September 2022

By Caroline Coile

Researchers at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine report what some dog breeders already suspected: hookworms are becoming resistant to drugs that previously killed them. In fact, hookworms are evolving to be resistant to all three drugs currently in use. The research team looked at retired racing greyhounds because sandy tracks and paddocks are conducive to the life cycle of hookworms. Four out of five dogs in their study were positive for hookworms, but according to one researcher, the others were probably also positive but had the worms “hidden” in tissues where they don’t reproduce and lay eggs until this worsens the infection and seeps into the dog’s intestines.

Alarmingly, most of these dogs remain positive even after treatment with one of three prescribed hookworm medications. Almost all of the dogs’ fecal samples tested positive for a mutation that allows hookworms to survive treatment with benzimidazoles, one of three commonly used dewormers. There is not yet a molecular test to test resistance to the other two types of dewormers, but other types of tests have shown hookworms to be resistant to these drugs as well.

Greyhound farms are ideal environments for parasites to develop resistant strains due to the large number of dogs present, creating a large population of worms in which mutations can arise and evolve. When these greyhounds are then placed in the pet population, they spread the mutated hookworms into the general environment, and eventually to the general dog population.

Click here to read the full article
194 – September 2022

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