WHAT ARE WHIPWORMS?
Whipworms can be a common occurence in the large intestines of dogs, but rarely seen in cats. Once a pet is infected, whipworms live in the large intestine where they burrow their tails into the intestinal wall and leave their mouths free to eat, taking away vital nutrients from your pet.
HOW DOES MY DOG GET WHIPWORMS?
Whipworms are passed through feces. Eggs enter the soil after a dog defecates. Other dogs become infected by ingesting these eggs in the environment, either thorough grooming themselves or by eating infected feces.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF INFECTION?
Some dogs may not show any signs of infection if they have a small amount of worms.
Heavy infections may cause:
- Bloody diarrhea
- Weight loss
HOW ARE WHIPWORMS DIAGNOSED?
Whipworms are diagnosed in a fecal sample. Typically your veterinarian will submit a fresh fecal sample to an outside lab that will analyze it for parasite eggs. Adult parasites don’t shed eggs all the time, so often it can be difficult to diagnose intestinal parasites. Routine deworming and checking several fecal samples are recommended in all young puppies and kittens.
HOW DO I PREVENT MY PET FROM GETTING WHIPWORMS?
If your pet is a young puppy or kitten, have them examined by a veterinarian and have their fecal sample examined. All young puppies and kittens should be dewormed by a veterinarian as a precaution. Typically young animals should be dewormed often while they are most suseptible to infection. Adult dogs and puppies 6-8 weeks of age should be given a monthly heartworm and intestinal parasite preventative to ensure that they would be protected from infection in the environment.
Feces should always be promptly picked up. However, whipworm eggs are resistant to temperature changes and sunlight and can contaminate the soil for months to years.
Always consult your veterinarian with questions regarding your pet’s health.