Trichuriasis in Dogs
The whipworm (Trichuris vulpis) parasite is generally transmitted to dogs when they ingest infested matter, although whipworms can be contracted from other infected animals as well. Whipworm eggs can live in an environment anywhere from a few months to years, and can be present in soil, food, or water, as well as in feces or animal flesh. Additionally, whipworms can infect dogs of any age.
Symptoms and Types
A whipworm infection may present itself as a large bowel inflammation or bloody diarrhea, or it may be asymptomatic. Other symptoms commonly associated with a whipworm infection include dehydration, anemia, and weight loss. It is worth noting that symptoms may begin prior to any visual evidence of whipworm eggs.
Dogs contract whipworms by ingesting infested or contaminated matter (e.g., food, water, flesh).
The veterinarian will confirm the diagnosis by conducting the fecal flotation procedure on a stool sample. If parasitic eggs or whipworms are present, they will float to the surface of the glass slide.
Treatment is generally done on an outpatient basis; your veterinarian will prescribe medication to destroy both the worms and larvae living within the dog’s body.
Living and Management
A follow-up examination is advised to confirm that all eggs have been exterminated from the animal’s system. This is generally accomplished by performing a fecal examination.
Other than properly sanitizing your pet’s area, the best way to prevent a whipworm infection is to avoid placing your dog in closed or crowded quarters with other animals. Talk to your vet about whether a prescription for a preventive medicine is appropriate for your dog.