What are Whipworms?

Whipworms are one of the 4 major parasites that can infect our canine companions: the other 3 are roundworms, tapeworms and hookworms.

Trichuris Vulpis is the scientific name for the type of whipworm that can affect dogs. The large intestine is the home for the whipworm, there they bite into the intestinal tissue and embed their heads into the intestinal wall. Once they become attached they begin to feed by sucking blood. Whipworm infection can lead to inflammation in the large intestine tissue and also cause bloody diarrhea. In some circumstances diarrhea can be difficult to control.

After the adult worm lays her eggs in the large intestine they will pass out with the stool into the environment. It takes the eggs 2 to 4 weeks to develop into embryos that then will become infective to a new host. Contaminated soil becomes the source of infection and not fresh fecal matter. Soil contaminated by whipworm eggs will remain contaminated for years. It is almost impossible to kill or remove them from the soil.

Treatment is often started if the symptoms suggest infection but the fecal exam is negative for whipworm eggs.

For more information on whipworm infection and treatment please visit the Companion Animal Parasitic Council website at https://www.capcvet.org/