Did you know that there are five types of worms that can seriously affect your animals? Worms are one of the most common health problems for dogs. There are five types of worms that generally affect dogs, and in this is series, we will discuss each type of worm:

This blog will discuss Whipworms.

What is Whipworm?

The whipworm is a common intestinal parasite of dogs which reside in the cecum where the small intestine and large intestine meet. When dogs swallow infective whipworm eggs in soil or other substances that may contain dog feces, they become infected. 

Why Named Whipworm?

Whipworms get their name from their shape. They have a thick anterior end and a long, thin, posterior end that resembles a whip. The thicker end embeds itself in the intestinal wall as the worms mature, causing irritation and discomfort.

Whipworm Lifecycle

The three stages of the whipworm life cycle are:

  • Egg
  • Larvae
  • Adult

In the large intestine, adult whipworms lay their eggs, where they are then passed into the dog’s stool to infect the environment. The eggs mature to an infective state, or embryonate, in the environment, and are ready to re-infect the host or infect a new host in 10-to-60 days. If ingested, the eggs hatch and mature in the lower intestinal tract, where they attach to feed and lay more eggs, continuing the cycle.

Symptoms

In the early stages, dogs may not show signs of whipworm infections. Once the whipworms attach to the cecum and colon, they can cause irritation. The more volume of whipworms, the greater the irritation, which can lead to anemia, diarrhea, weight loss, and bloody stools which are symptoms of parasites and other serious diseases.

Diagnosing

Taking a stool sample and examining it under a microscope is the best way to diagnose a whipworm.

Treatment

Your veterinarian may prescribe one of many anti-worm medications to kill the parasites in your dog's system and help alleviate his symptoms.

Prevention

Many common heartworm preventatives also prevent whipworm infections. Prevention is the best way to keep whipworms away from your animal.

Can Humans Get Whipworms?

Trichuris trichiura is the type of whipworms that humans spread through human feces. The infection most often occurs in children. It is also more common in people who live in regions with hot, humid climates and in areas with poor hygiene and sanitation.

If you think your animal has any of these symptoms or has been exposed to Whipworms, make sure you contact your Vet?

Animal Care Center in Smyrna, GA, is owned and operated by Otto H. Williams, DVM. The veterinary practice specializes in complete healthcare for cats and dogs and offers services including preventative, surgical and nonsurgical care, internal medicine, grooming and boarding to Cobb County and surrounding cities such as Vinings, Marietta, Mableton and Sandy Springs. Call today at 770.438.2694 or request an appointment