Canine Whipworms

What exactly are canine whipworms? They are an intestinal parasite that feeds on your dog's blood. 

They are so named due to their appearance which resembles a long whip that is narrower on one end. 

They live in the large intestine and the “cecum” which is a tubelike structure where the large and the small intestine connect.

©Photo Courtesy of Gavin "Tex" Warren
Melbourne, Australia

Their life cycle works similar to this:  Eggs are laid inside of your dog's intestine and pass out of your Golden Retriever  through his bowel movements.

Once outside of your dog, it takes about 4 weeks for the embryos to mature, but they do not hatch then, as they wait until they are re-ingested into your dog before hatching. 

If these cells are ingested by dogs before they have reached their first larvae cycle, they are simply re-passed again and will not actually be able to hatch inside of him.

After mature embryos are consumed by your pet, over the course of the next 2 to 3 months, the hatched egg will go through 4 more larvae growth stages in which they then become adults and are ready to breed and the cycle starts over again.

The eggs can survive in soil for many years.

Your Golden Retriever can get whipworms from walking on them, and then later licking his paws, or from chewing on items that have the eggs on them, such as grass and dirt.

©Photo Courtesy of Brad Kennedy

They hatch when they are swallowed.

Many times you will not notice any evidence of your Golden having these parasites.

A fecal exam performed by your veterinarian can miss them, as egg amounts are not high and therefore can be easily overlooked.

Some possible signs of infestation are weight loss, or poor weight gain. Also, on and off diarrhea or blood streaked diarrhea that has mucous in it.

There are ways to treat, prevent and control these parasites from living inside of your dogs.

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