What Are Whipworms in Dogs?

The whipworm is a small, dangerous, whip-shaped intestinal parasite found most commonly in dogs. Adult worms can come to live in the large intestine of your pet and pass its eggs into the stool. Infection occurs upon the ingestion of these eggs from environments contaminated with the stool.

How Will I Know If My Dog Has Whipworms?

Signs of whipworm infection include diarrhea, weight loss, blood-tinged or mucous-covered stools, and a general decrease in your dog’s overall health. Occasionally, in severe infections, significant blood loss, anemia, dehydration, and death may occur.

Your local veterinarian will be able to diagnose whipworms by performing microscopic examinations of the stool.

How Are Whipworms Treated?

Several deworming medications are available for the treatment of this condition. If significant blood loss or dehydration has occurred, hospitalization, fluid therapy, and additional medications may be necessary. Following treatment, an additional stool sample should be examined to confirm the complete elimination of the parasites.

During and following treatment, here are some important things to keep in mind:

  • Use all medications as prescribed by your veterinarian.
  • Monitor your pet carefully and have him or her rechecked as directed by your veterinarian.
  • Clean up stools promptly to help prevent re-infection.
  • An additional stool examination after treatment is highly recommended.

Need More Information?

If you have questions about this or any medical topic, please contact your local veterinarian, visit our new State of Pet Health page, feel free to browse through our Pet Health and Ask a Vet libraries, or check out some of the parasite and virus control links below.