A closer look: Whipworms in Dogs
Whipworm infection is common in dogs, and many infections show no symptoms. Any time a dog is showing symptoms such as bloody diarrhea, prompt veterinary attention is required. Prognosis is good with appropriate deworming products and schedules.
Connect with a vet to get more information
Many whipworm infections show no symptoms. In severe infections, whipworms can cause dehydration, anemia, and even death due to blood loss.
The cause of whipworm infection is ingestion of soil contaminated by the feces of another animal with whipworm. It is not transmitted by fresh feces, as the eggs take 2-4 weeks to mature before they are able to infect a new host. Eggs can survive in the environment for months to years.
Testing and diagnosis
The first step to investigate symptoms of whipworm is a full physical examination. They may order blood work as well. Veterinarians test for the presence of microscopic eggs in feces by centrifugation and flotation. Since these tests frequently produce false negatives, multiple tests to detect whipworm proteins in feces may be used to confirm diagnosis.
Steps to Recovery
Deworming on an appropriate schedule is the treatment for whipworms. Even though a fecal test may be negative for eggs, It is common to deworm for whipworms if symptoms suggest whipworms. In severe cases, dogs may require IV fluids or other supportive care methods to stabilize them.
Treatment should be repeated at least twice at an interval of 75 days to achieve control. Alternatively, some sources suggest treating once monthly for 3 months.
Veterinary guidance should be followed for individual cases. It is not safe to deworm pets without professional assessment and recommendations. Most common deworming medications do not work on whipworms, so something specific must be chosen
Follow-up fecal examination is recommended to ensure the infection is cleared.
Whipworm infection can be cured quickly with the use of appropriate deworming. Reinfection is common due to the eggs’ longevity in the environment. Whipworms can live in the environment for months to years.
The Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC) recommends testing for intestinal parasites, including whipworms, at least four times in the first year of life, and at least two times per year in adults, depending on patient health and lifestyle factors. Treating adult pets four times a year with an appropriate broad-spectrum dewormer is the best preventive measure for whipworms.
Are Whipworms in Dogs common?
T. vulpis occurs in dogs worldwide. Whipworms are found in as many as 14.3% of shelter dogs sampled in the U.S. and 10% of dogs presented to veterinary teaching hospitals.
- Supportive care