What are Whipworms?
Whipworms, or Trichuris vulpis, are common intestinal parasites of domestic dogs. These large parasites embed themselves in the sensitive lining of the dog’s intestine. They burrow their slender, “whip-like” heads into the dog’s intestinal lining and dine on tissue, blood and other bodily fluids, sucking out essential nutrients. Adult females can lay thousands of eggs every day, which pass out in the dog’s feces and contaminate soil, grass and other areas. Whipworm eggs are extremely resistant to temperature and weather extremes. They can survive for years in the environment. Dogs get infected by ingesting those eggs, such as by walking through a contaminated area and then licking their paws or fur. Whipworms cause varying degrees of gastrointestinal irritation and inflammation, including belly-aches, diarrhea and abdominal cramping. In some cases, the symptoms become quite severe. In other cases, dogs infected with whipworms don’t show any signs of discomfort.