Whipworm in dogs
Canine Whipworms (Trichuris vulpis) get their name from their whip-like shape.
This intestinal parasite is quite prevalent throughout the U.S., especially in adult dogs. To become infected with whipworm, dogs accidentally eat whipworm eggs (while grooming, for example).
Dogs become infected by accidentally eating whipworm eggs (while grooming, for example).
The life cycle of canine whipworms in dogs
After being swallowed, whipworm eggs hatch in the stomach. The larvae invade the wall of the small intestine, where they continue to grow.
Eventually (in approximately 2 ½ months), adult whipworms attach to the lining of the large intestine and cecum (a blind pouch where the small intestine meets the large intestine), where they feed on the dog’s blood.
Adult canine whipworms lay eggs that are expelled in the feces of infected dogs. The eggs must remain in the soil for 2 to 4 weeks to mature before they can infect new hosts.
Health risk to dogs
Like hookworms, dog whipworms attach to the lining of the intestines and suck the dog’s blood, but they are generally less harmful and lead to fewer health problems.
A small number of whipworms may not cause any signs, but a heavier infection can lead to diarrhea, weight loss, blood loss and anemia.
Health risk to people: zoonosis
Canine whipworms rarely infect people.
Whipworm infections in humans are usually caused by a different (non-canine) species of whipworm known as Trichuris trichiura.
Canine whipworm treatment
Because most canine worm treatment products are not effective against whipworms, extra care must be taken when choosing a dog dewormer for whipworms.
Fenbendazole is recommended and is commonly used to control these parasites.
For information on how to choose a good whipworm treatment for dogs and administer it to your dog, click here.
For tips and advice on how to protect your dog against canine whipworms - click here.
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