10909 Indian Head HighwayFort Washington, MD 20744(301) 292-1150(301) 292-1056
What is it?
These are intestinal worms of dogs and cats.  The front portion of the worm is very thin (the whip) and the posteriorend is thick (whip handle).  These worms are usually not seen by the naked eye.
 
Who is susceptible to it?
Dogs, very rarely cats and humans.
 
How does it spread?
A dog or cat becomes infected by ingesting food or water contaminated with whipworm eggs.
 
Time line from exposure to signs?
Days.
 
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms vary from none to severe, including vomiting, watery diarrhea, and marked weight loss. 
 
Is there a test for it?
An infection is diagnosed by finding the eggs in the feces.  Eggs from this parasite pass intermittently, however, so it may be necessary to check multiple fecals before the diagnosis is made.
 
How is it treated?
Treatment is an oral or topical medication (De-wormer), and the prevention of re-infection.  Interceptor (not Heartguard Plus) treats or controls infections with whipworms and is an important addition to a prevention program.
 
Cleaning the environment?
Whipworm eggs are very resistant and can live in soil for years, even resisting freezing. Because of this, animals should be restricted from contaminated areas. There is no effective method for killing whipworm eggs in the soil. The only alternative is to replace the soil with new soil, gravel, and pavement. To prevent exposure, any feces in the yard should be picked up on a daily basis.
 
Is there a vaccine?
No.
 
Risk for humans?
Transmission to humans is rare.  There have been reports of people being infected with the dog whipworm.  However, humans are much more often infected with the human whipworm.
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