Whipworms in Dogs & Puppies
Whipworms, properly known as the infection Trichuris Serrata, are parasites that make their homes in your dog’s cecum and colon, and can potentially severely irritate the lining of the bowel. Dogs generally acquire whipworms by eating something infested with this parasite, such as soil, food, water, or the flesh of a dead animal; but they can also contract them from other infected dogs or cats. Dogs of any age are susceptible to whipworms.
As a highly pathogenic worm found in dogs, whipworms should always be taken seriously. If untreated, severe whipworm infection can lead to very serious disease in dogs and even death in worst cases.
When infected with a whipworm, some dogs might not show any symptoms until the worms begin to multiply inside the body. Only then, will the infection begin to take a toll. As your dog’s health worsens, symptoms may include:
- Bloody diarrhea
- Bowel inflammation
- Weight loss
To confirm a diagnosis of whipworms, your dog’s veterinarian will have to conduct a fecal flotation procedure on a stool sample. The vet will test for the presence of parasitic eggs or whipworms, which will be obvious under a microscope, if your dog has an infection.
There are several medications available that can destroy the whipworm infection in your dog’s body. While the drugs are very effective, it often takes two treatments (spaced at a three to four week interval) for the infection to cure because whipworms have a high rate of re-infection due to how resilient the eggs are. Under your veterinarian’s care and supervision, you should see your dog’s whipworm infection clear up in a few short weeks and your vet can let you know whether continued care is needed.
Whipworms are contracted through exposure to contaminated areas, so it’s important to sanitize your home and your pet’s areas regularly. Don’t keep your dog in crowded living quarters with other animals who might be exposed to unsanitary conditions. If your dog defecates in your yard, make sure to remove the feces regularly if not daily.
Preventative medications for dogs are available, and your veterinarian can let you know if this is a good option for your pet based on individual living situations. Scheduling annual vet visits is always a good idea, but if you’re concerned that your dog may have whipworms, be sure to get an appointment with the vet as soon as possible.
Can I get whipworms from my dog?
Nope, you’re safe! Humans cannot contract whipworms from their dog.
With Healthy Paws, pet parents don’t have to choose between their pet and their wallet. By signing up for pet insurance when pets are young, ongoing treatments will be covered up to 90%. Find out more by getting a free quote.