Whipworm Treatment And Prevention

Whipworms are on our mind this morning because two little patients, Sammy and Bandaro have arrived for their appointments today with vomiting and loss of appetite.

Bandaro, front, and Sammy have whipworms, vomiting and lethargy.

Bandaro, front, and Sammy have whipworms, vomiting and lethargy.

Whipworms are a pesky intestinal worm of dogs that causes weight loss, diarrhea (usually with mucus) and sometimes bloody stool. The most common worm is Trichuris vulpis.

Closeup, microscopic view of a whipworm egg, Trichuris vulpis.

Closeup, microscopic view of a whipworm egg, Trichuris vulpis.

Using the fecal flotation we find the eggs of the parasite and make the diagnosis.

As with many other intestinal worms, two dewormings are required. Deworming medications, typically, can kill only the adult worms. In a period of approximately three weeks the immature worms will have matured to adulthood and then can be killed by a second deworming.

Later, we will want to know whether all of the worms have been removed from the body. Another fecal flotation will be performed, usually 2-6 weeks after the second deworming.

Some heartworm preventives can prevent whipworms. The one we use for this is Interceptor, made by the Novartis company. Given monthly, it is excellent at preventing not only whipworms, but also hookworms and roundworms. Hookworms and roundworms are especially dangerous because they can also infect people. That makes them zoonoticzoonotic.

See you tomorrow, Dr. Randolph.

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