What is the treatment for whipworm in dogs?

Whipworms are a very small kind of worm that live in the digestive system of dogs. They live in the large intestine and the cecum, which is a small part of the intestines near where the small and large intestines meet. They are very infectious and common all over the United States.

   

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How does a dog catch them?

Dogs get whipworms in most cases by eating or drinking something that has their eggs in it. The eggs pass through the feces of infected animals, and they can survive for years. They get moved around, can get into water sources, or get stepped on by a dog who later licks its paws or touches a toy that it likes to chew on with them. Sometimes dogs will stick their nose into feces of other animals to smell it, or they'll eat a small rodent that is infected. There are really a lot of different ways the dog could have gotten them.

What are the symptoms?

 With only a few worms, there will be no symptoms. As the worms grow and multiply, however, your dog will start having diarrhea, vomiting, and weight loss. These worms can cause internal bleeding which leads to anemia in some cases. Also, dogs who are infested may frequently lick at their abdomens.

What is the treatment?

There are many deworming drugs that can be used to treat them, and your vet will give you one. You may have to deworm the dog several times, however, because sometimes the drugs do not kill the larva. Also, it is usually a good idea to put your dog on a heartworm prevention drug such as Heartgard Plus. These medications will often prevent whipworm infection as well, and reinfection is very common - if your dog has gotten infested, it is likely that your yard or an area the dog plays in has eggs in it.

Can humans get canine whipworms?

There have been only very rare reports of this happening. There is a separate species of these worms that infects people, but they are different and in general can't infect different species. It is very unlikely that you would catch them from your dog.

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