As a pet owner, keeping your fur baby healthy is a top priority. But even the most vigilant pet parents can miss an illness or disease if the symptoms are minor or too vague. That’s why it’s so important to pay attention to any changes in your pet’s behavior and visit the vet if you suspect something might be wrong. A very common issue pet owners miss is whipworm infections. Keep reading to learn more about what whipworm infections are, and how to treat them if your furry friend gets one.
Whipworm eggs are passed through the feces of infected animals (both cats and dogs) and contaminate soil or water. The eggs then hatch into larvae, which can live in the environment for years and be picked up by other animals. Once ingested, the larvae migrate to the large intestine where they attach to the intestinal walls and feed on blood, leading to anemia. This leads to specific symptoms such as weight loss, diarrhea (sometimes with blood), dehydration, anorexia, and even colitis in severe cases.
As with many parasites, it can be difficult to tell whether or not your pup has whipworms just by observing them. Some common symptoms include weight loss, poor coat condition, diarrhea, vomiting, dehydration, and fatigue—but these can also be indicators of other medical conditions, so that’s where it can get complicated. To properly diagnose your dog with whipworms (or anything else), you should take them to the vet for a full exam and laboratory tests such as fecal analysis or imaging scans like endoscopy or X-rays.
Because whipworm eggs take weeks or even months to pass in your pet’s feces, diagnosis usually requires repeated fecal exams over time, since most pets with whipworm infections will have only small numbers of eggs passed intermittently in their feces. The treatment options range from deworming to antibiotics depending on how far along the infection has progressed. So don't let things get out of hand and take your pet to the vet asap!
Whipworms are one of those sneaky parasites that can wreak havoc on your pet's health before you even know it's there. At Salazar Veterinary Hospital, we have a team ready to diagnose your pet's condition quickly and accurately so they can get back to being healthy in no time. So don't wait until it's too late - if you suspect your pet may have contracted whipworms make sure to give us a call today. Our friendly staff will be more than happy to help you out so don't hesitate to reach out for assistance. We'll make sure your furry friend is back to being happy and healthy in no time!