Dog Parasite - Whipworms


Overview - Whipworms are small thread-like parasites that embed deep within the lining of the colon (large intestine) and cecum. Trichuris vulpis, the canine whipworm, is a common parasite and is a major cause of diarrhea in the dog.

Parasite target - large intestine

Symptoms - Light infections of whipworms are difficult to diagnose, but they can lead to more serious problems. Large numbers of whipworms irritate the lining of your dog's intestine causing weight loss and pain. Watery and bloody stools may result. Severe infections can cause life threatening dehydration and anemia. Whipworms are not dangerous to people, but once dogs become infected, whipworms are difficult to eliminate without medication programs.

Treatment - Treatment Whipworm infections can be difficult to treat due to the high incidence of re-infection from contaminated environments. Eggs, because of their thick shell are very resistant, they can remain in the environment for as long as 5 years , and in areas where whipworm is prevalent, it is almost impossible to prevent re-infection unless measures are taken to treat the dog most frequented areas. Even then, the eggs are resistant to most cleaning methods and re-infection is likely. The long (3 month) pre-patent period means that dewormers given at a 2 to 3 week intervals would not control the immature stages, and treatment for this worm must be long term if there is to be any chance of success.

Treatment and control for whipworm currently includes Milbemycin Oxime found in both SENTINEL and INTERCEPTOR.  Depending on the situation and environment your dog is in, your veterinarian will be able to prescribe the appropriate medication to treat your dog for these parasites.

It is important to note that all canine dewormers currently available are labeled as being effective only against the adult stage of the worm. Within weeks or even days of deworming, immature larvae that were present in the gut, but unaffected by the medication, will develop into mature adults and begin laying eggs again.

Prevention - To prevent exposure, any feces in the yard should be picked up on a daily basis. Routine fecal examinations and wormings can help control this parasite.

Prevention - Proper and effective flea control is of paramount importance. Once parasites have been detected, proper and thorough de-worming is necessary, and periodic de-worming may be indicated for dogs at a high risk of infection. Consult your veterinarian if you