Zoonotic hookworms are hookworms that live in animals but can be transmitted to humans. Dogs and cats can become infected with several hookworm species, including Ancylostoma brazilense, A. caninum, A. ceylanicum, and Uncinaria stenocephala.
People are infected when animal hookworm larvae penetrate the skin, causing a local reaction that is red and itchy. Raised, red tracks appear in the skin where the larvae have been and these tracks may move in the skin day to day, following the larvae’s movements. The symptoms of itching and pain can last several weeks before the larvae die and the reaction to the larvae resolves.
The animal hookworm larvae that cause cutaneous larva migrans (CLM) usually do not survive more than 5 – 6 weeks in the human host. In most patients with CLM, the signs and symptoms resolve without medical treatment. However, treatment may help control symptoms and help prevent secondary bacterial infections. Antiparasitic treatments may be prescribed by your health care provider.