Whipworms, also known as trichuriasis, can occur in both cats and dogs and comes from a parasite (Trichuris trichiura). It is generally transmitted by ingesting infested matter, although whipworms can be contracted from other infected animals. Whipworm eggs can live in any environment and can remain dormant anywhere from a few months to years. These worms can be present in soil, food, or water, as well as in feces or animal flesh. Whipworms infect dogs of any age.
Symptoms of Whipworms in Dogs
A whipworm infection may present itself as a large bowel inflammation or bloody diarrhea, or it may be asymptomatic. Other symptoms commonly associated with a whipworm infection include dehydration, anemia, and weight loss. It is worth noting that symptoms may begin prior to any visual evidence of whipworm eggs.
Causes of Whipworms in Dogs
These worms are contracted when an animal ingests infested or contaminated matter such as food, water, flesh, or feces.
Diagnosis of Whipworms
Whipworm infection is confirmed by conducting a fecal flotation procedure on a stool sample. If parasitic eggs or whipworms are present, they will float to the surface of the glass slide.
Animals infected with whipworm are usually treated on an outpatient basis. Veterinarians will prescribe medication to destroy both the worms and larvae living within the dog's body.
Living and Management
After a few weeks of treatment your veterinarian will require a follow-up examination to confirm that all eggs have been exterminated from the animal's system. This is generally accomplished by performing a fecal examination.
Prevention of Whipworms in Dogs
The best prevention to this type of parasite is to keep your pet's living area sanitized. Also avoid placing your dog in confined quarters with other animals.