Whipworms in Dogs

Whipworms in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

Most common symptoms

Bleeding / Pain / Poor Appetite / Swollen Abdomen / Vomiting / Weight Loss

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Rated as moderate conditon

14 Veterinary Answers

Most common symptoms

Bleeding / Pain / Poor Appetite / Swollen Abdomen / Vomiting / Weight Loss

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Whipworms in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

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What are Whipworms?

Like many parasitic worms, whipworms are acquired through the fecal-oral route. A dog who consumes or licks something contaminated with whipworm eggs may contract the infection. Whipworms begin as eggs which hatch upon contacting the commensal bacteria in the small intestine. Once there, the larvae burrow into the villi of the intestine, which are protruding structures that aid in nutrient absorption. The dog’s immune system reacts to this by releasing inflammatory factors that aid in attacking the worms. A side affect of this inflammation is the flattening of these villi, which can reduce the dog’s ability to absorb nutrients.

As the larvae mature, they move further down the digestive tract into the large intestine, where they thread themselves into the mucous lining and feed on the various secretions. Although the worms do not feed on blood, their action and associated inflammation can cause bleeding. If your dog has lost weight, seems weak or lethargic, and has passed bloody, soft stools, they may be infected with whipworms. While many light cases of whipworms may persist for months or years without any symptoms, another illness that draws the attention of the immune system elsewhere may allow an outbreak to occur. Schedule a veterinarian visit if you suspect your dog may have whipworms.

The parasitic worm Trichuris vulpis, commonly called whipworm, is a gastrointestinal parasite affecting both dogs and humans, so named because the thin anterior and thick posterior resemble a whip. The larvae burrow into the villi in the small intestine and develop before moving to the large intestine as adults, where they attach themselves in the mucosa and feed on cellular secretions.

Symptoms of Whipworms in Dogs

  • Weight loss
  • Increased appetite
  • Soft and/or bloody stools
  • Swollen abdomen
  • Abdominal tenderness and pain
  • Periodic vomiting

Causes of Whipworms in Dogs

  • Eating feces of animal infected with Trichuris Vulpis
  • Licking or eating material that had contacted infected feces
  • Drinking or playing in water contaminated with whipworm eggs

Diagnosis of Whipworms in Dogs

If you notice a change in your dog’s weight or eating habits not explained by a change in diet or exercise, monitor the animal’s gastrointestinal health, and see a veterinarian if your dog has begun to pass loose, bloody stools or is behaving lethargically, as these may indicate a parasitic infection.

A veterinarian will likely request a stool sample to diagnose whipworms. By mixing a sample with water and centrifuging it, the eggs may be separated and viewed under a microscope. The large, double-ended eggs do not float as readily as those of other parasitic infections like hookworms, and are present in smaller numbers.

If the secondary symptoms of whipworms are severe, such as inflammation of the gut, the veterinarian may order an ultrasound as a “first look” at the problem. Ultrasound is an easy way to image the body, and can be done painlessly in even a small office. The vet will apply a small amount of conductive gel to the abdomen of your dog, and move the imaging wand around. Images of the intestines will appear on the screen and can show inflammation and dilation. If these symptoms do not improve with treatment of the whipworms, more detailed imaging may be required, such as MRI or CT scans. These may need to be done in a larger animal hospital, as local veterinarians usually cannot accommodate such large machines.

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Treatment of Whipworms in Dogs

The treatment for whipworms is an anti-parasitic agent, usually taken orally in pill form. Fenbendazole, milbemycin, and oxantel are often the first choice for treatment. As with antibiotics, the full course of treatment should be taken even as symptoms begin to improve. This ensures complete eradication of the disease.

If the inflammation and irritation of the digestive tract persists in spite of treatment, anti-inflammatory drugs may be prescribed to control swelling and restore absorption capability to the small intestine. Additional supportive actions may be necessary if your dog is severely weakened or anemic. These often include IV fluids and iron supplements.

Recovery of Whipworms in Dogs

In the vast majority of cases, symptoms are not overly severe, and recovery is swift. Improvement can be seen in as little as a week, and full recovery in about 4. Unlike many parasite eggs, whipworm eggs are highly susceptible to desiccation (drying out) and thus dying rather than going dormant. Maintaining a clean, dry living space and supervising your dog’s outdoor play dramatically reduces the chance of re-infection. Hookworms are transmissible to humans and other dogs, so make sure to clean contaminated areas wearing gloves and using 10% bleach solution, which will kill the parasites. Keep your dog away from children and other dogs while it is recovering from whipworms.

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Whipworms Average Cost

From 14 quotes ranging from $250 - $500

Average Cost

$300

Whipworms Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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Harley

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American Bulldog

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5 Years

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Moderate condition

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1 found helpful

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Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea

My dog has/had Hookworms & Whipworms and was treated for 3 days with medication from the vet. Her stool started to become somewhat normal but has recently turned back into diarrhea. Does it sound like she may need treatment again?

March 13, 2018

Harley's Owner


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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

Thank you for your email. She might need to be treated again, yes, if there were eggs that survived in her intestines and they are now adults. It would be best to have a stool sample rechecked to see is there are signs of the parasites again, and repeat the treatment if necessary.

March 13, 2018

I think my dog might have whipworm she is a pup and only just got worming from the vets. However this morning she was doing a poo and I notice she had something hanging from her bottom and I had to help her by pulling it out I didn't seem to get it all. Then it happened again. It looked like fettuccine pasta and I asked my son if he had fed her anything and he said no. Could this be whipworm and if so what should I do. Would it be the worming pill the vet gave her? They were given a week ago

May 6, 2018

Julie A.

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Elsa

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Boxer

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2 Years

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Mild condition

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0 found helpful

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Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Loss Of Appetite

My dog spit out most of her first dosage for whip worms will it still be okay or do i need to get more medication. This is my first time experiencing this and the vet is out for the next two days

Feb. 11, 2018

Elsa's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

Thank you for your email. If Elsa spit most of the medication out, you should get another dosage, yes - the medication doesn't work unless she eats it. If she is stable, not having any diarrhea or vomiting and eating well, you should be fine to wait until Monday to get more medication. Your veterinarian may be able to help you administer the dosage of medication so that she gets the treatment. If she is not stable, is vomiting, having diarrhea, or is lethargic or not eating, she should be seen earlier than Monday to make sure that she is okay.

Feb. 11, 2018

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Jasmine

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Vizsla

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13 Years

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Serious condition

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0 found helpful

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Serious condition

Has Symptoms

My dog woke up 2 weeks ago and couldn't walk very well. Her head was tilted to one side and her back legs were going out from under her. She wasn't eating very well and she was falling alot when she tried to walk. She has improved some but she still has to be carried outside to go to the bathroom and her head it still tilted with some falling

Jan. 23, 2018

Jasmine's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

Thank you for your email. Older dogs can sometimes be affected by neurologic diseases, and some of them are treatable - it would be best to have Jasmine examined by a veterinarian, as they can assess her neurologic function and determine what might be going on, and recommend any treatment that may be appropriate. I hope that you are able to get a treatment for her.

Jan. 23, 2018

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Lux

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border collie terrier mix

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1.5

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Fair condition

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1 found helpful

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Fair condition

Has Symptoms

Hi there! I adopted my dog and at the time, she had a soft stool. They gave me some perscribed low fat food meant for diarrhea. Then they called three days later to inform me one of the dogs in the shelter tested positive for whipworms and if my dog still showed signs, I should take her in to get treated. However, her stools are completely normal with no signs of having them. I have migrated her over to mostly normal food with a small amount of the special food. She isn't acting like she has anything wrong with her, either, and is pooping on a very regular schedule. Should I still put her on some worm medication just in case? Thank you!

Dec. 14, 2017

Lux's Owner

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recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

As a responsible dog owner you should be giving Lux an anthelmintic as part of your prevention program along with a topical spot on treatment for fleas and ticks; also whipworms don’t always shed eggs so may come up with a false negative on a faecal floatation test. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Dec. 15, 2017

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Boone

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Golden Retreiver

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1 Year

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Mild condition

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild condition

Has Symptoms

How long does it take to notice a difference in dogs weight after taking medication for whipworms? My golden retriever is on his 2nd round of medication but is still so skinny. I’m just concerned and wanted to make sure there wasn’t anything else I needed to be doing to help him gain some weight back.

Nov. 24, 2017

Boone's Owner

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recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

Once a dog has expelled the worms, it will take a few weeks for the body to start showing signs of improvement; if there were worms you should take a stool sample to your Veterinarian for an examination which will also check for protozoan parasites as well. Make sure that Boon has a complete dog food diet which is appropriate for his breed, age and activity level. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Nov. 24, 2017

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Rocket

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Jack Russell Terrier

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14 Years

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Serious condition

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea
Shaking

Our 14yr old dog - Rocket - has been symptomatic for about 6 weeks. Thin stool, shivering. His appetite remains voracious. He is bright and responsive. He lost quite a bit of weight in that period and was dehydrated when we brought him into the vet 2 weeks ago. His anal check was normal, his blood markers all came back normal. They gave me pain meds to deal with the pain shakes. 5 days ago, his stool tested positive for whip worm. We dewormed him 2 days ago. He’s still got a good appetite but his pain is so severe that he’s panting and shaking. He did pass some stool with dead worms in it. Tonight we took him into the emergency clinic because of the panting. Vet did anal check and said prostrate was enlarged. Recommended X-ray to confirm. X-ray did not confirm any mass on prostrate or other. Did confirm swollen lymph nodes in rear back. Question is - could his whip worm infection been so severe to cause these dramatic symptoms? Or are we looking at something else.

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Miffy

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Labrador Retriever

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2 Months

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Moderate condition

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Weakness
Bloating

My dog is only 2.5 months old. For last few days, she has a bloated stomach. My vet gave her vaccination and suggested that she has immense gas and given medication of Hepamarz OA,which she was having previously Rantac MPS, Lasix. On that night, I saw a little pouch like sac in her lower abdomen, rushed to vet and was given a lasix injection. Her CBC report showed hemoglobin level to be 6.2, low RBC, MCH 16.9 pg, MCHC 27.3g/dL. Her LFT report shows low albumin of 2 g/dL, ALP 267 U/L.Her diet was changed to rice with chicken. Today, her stool report suggests presence of eggs of Trichuris vulpis.Is the low albumin level and low haemoglobin due to this worm infection. What is to be done? PLz suggest

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Luna

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Lab mix

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2 Years

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Moderate condition

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Blood In Stool

My dog is being treated for whipworm. She finished her 2nd round of panacur suspension May 3rd, and supposed to have 3rd round 3 months later. A couple weeks ago she stared showing symptoms again. The vets put her on metronidazole, which cleared up the blood, but she still has very watery stool and she her appetite was decreased. They had us stop the metronidazole and give a bland diet of boiled chicken and rice. She ate a meal of that last night and this morning, but tonight she won’t eat anything, but trying to eat grass all afternoon. Her bowel movements are still watery. I feel like I should give her the 3rd round of panacur even though she isn’t due. Any advice? I will try taking her to the vet tomorrow, but so far they have been trying to solve it over the phone.

Whipworms Average Cost

From 14 quotes ranging from $250 - $500

Average Cost

$300

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