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D2003-27

Dear Daisy Dog

Jasper, our 3-year-old Labrador retriever, had watery diarrhea with mucus – all over our white living room carpet!

Our veterinarian diagnosed whipworms, and I’m happy to say, treatment was quickly effective. Just what are whipworms?

Daisy Responds

Jasper is in good company. One dog in seven has whipworms – including me, years ago.

Whipworms are tiny whip-shaped worms that live in the dog’s large intestine, where they drink blood and cause substantial irritation.

Infected dogs may show no clinical signs, or they may have poor appetite, weight loss, vomiting – or diarrhea, like Jasper.

Whipworm eggs are excreted in the stool, but they are too small to be seen without a microscope, so only your veterinarian can diagnose the infection.

Under the microscope, whipworm eggs look like tiny footballs with a headlight at each end. They are my mom’s favorite worm eggs because of their distinctive shape.

The female whipworm lays very few eggs, and she sheds them only sporadically, so it may be necessary to examine multiple stool samples to make the diagnosis.

Whipworm eggs remain viable in the environment for many years, despite winter freezes, and Jasper can reinfect himself by inadvertently ingesting them. To prevent further episodes, keep him on a whipworm preventive like Interceptor or Sentinel every month throughout the year.

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