Whipworms in Dogs

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Questions and answers about whipworms in dogs

Vet comforting a sick dog.

Whipworms are intestinal parasites often found in dogs, spreading when infected animals pass the eggs through their stool. And in addition to causing health issues in dogs, these parasites are quite common. They can be found throughout the United States, infecting dogs from coast to coast. Here’s what you need to know about whipworms — and how you can prevent them.

What Are Whipworms in Dogs?

Whipworms are intestinal parasites that live inside the large intestine and a part of the digestive system called the cecum. Once inside your dog, whipworms hatch, mature and complete their lifecycle in your dog’s intestinal tract, using your pet as their food source.

What Do Whipworms Look Like?

Whipworms are small, thin and threadlike. They can appear almost translucent, with one end slightly larger than the other, giving them a whip-like shape. Their microscopic eggs are not always shed consistently and cannot be seen by the naked eye.

Close up of a whipworm under a microscope.

How Do Dogs Get Whipworms?

Dogs may ingest whipworm eggs by directly eating dirt or pet stools, or spending time in a contaminated environment, such as a dog park or even your own backyard.

What Are the Symptoms of Whipworms in Dogs?

Not all pets show symptoms of whipworms. In fact, some dogs can be infected and appear perfectly normal. For those that do show signs, you may notice:

  • Dehydration
  • Diarrhea
  • Bloody stools
  • Weight loss
  • Recurring weakness

What Whipworm Treatments Can Help Fight Infections?

The good news is that whipworm infections can be treated with a dewormer. But because whipworm eggs remain in contaminated areas for up to seven years, preventing reinfection requires vigilance.

You can help prevent whipworms by keeping pet areas clean and regularly removing pet waste from your yard. Find effective dewormers at pet specialty stores and veterinarian offices

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