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Whipworm Infection in Dogs

Whipworms—even the name sounds scary. These tiny worms and their eggs can affect your dog at any age and cause many unpleasant symptoms. Here, your Carmel veterinarian tells you more about a where a whipworm infection comes from, its symptoms, and how to treat your pooch.

Causes

Your dog can contract whipworms in two ways: by ingesting infected material or from other infected animals. Infected material can include food, water, feces, soil, and flesh—if your dog consumes any of these substances that are already infected, the worms will infect his own body. Whipworm eggs can survive in these environments for a few months up to several years.

If your dog is diagnosed with whipworm infection, try to think of where and how he might have contracted the worms. If you can pinpoint a location, you’ll be able to help your dog and any other pets avoid it in the future.

Symptoms

Bowel inflammation and bloody diarrhea are the two main symptoms of whipworm infection in dogs. Other symptoms that may be present include anemia, loss of weight, and dehydration. Notify your veterinarian immediately if your dog exhibits any of these symptoms.

Treatment

You’ll need to take your pooch to your vet as soon as symptoms are present. After performing a fecal exam to confirm the presence of whipworms, he or she will prescribe medication that will kill the worms and their larvae. Generally, that’s all the treatment needed—however, your veterinarian will probably recommend a follow-up exam to ensure your dog’s body has rid itself of all the eggs. Your veterinarian can fill you in on treatment costs and timetables.

Prevention

While it might not be possible to completely shield your dog from whipworm-infected material, especially if he is the inquisitive, exploratory type, you can minimize the risk by monitoring him while outside, appropriately sanitizing your pet’s bedding and food areas, and minimizing contact with other animals. Ask your Carmel vet for more tips on preventing whipworm infection in dogs, and contact him or her immediately if you think your dog has contracted an infection.

 

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