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    WHIPWORMS IN DOGS

    Article Written for Summer Knight Kennels
                   by: Meghan Goodall


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    Whipworms are small but potentially problematic worms that are found within your dog's intestines. In fact the mature whipworm prefers the area of the intestine known as the cecum, which is located between the small and large intestines. The mature whipworm attaches itself to the intestinal lining in the cecum and actually sucks blood from the dog. This results in a variety of symptoms ranging from anemia through to vomiting and diarrhea. Anemic dogs have very pale gums, poor coat condition, poor overall health and lack energy. The dog may also consume a lot of water and appear very dehydrated, which is also a sign of anemia. When dogs have severe whipworm infestations the fecal material is typically very runny, often containing blood which may show up as a black substance in the feces. The vomit is a very noticeable greeny-yellow color that is different than just digested food that is being expelled from the body.

    Whipworms are so named because they actually do resemble a whip with a thicker, heavier end and a finer, very tapered end. Whipworms only grow to be about two inches in length and are very rarely expelled from the body either through the feces or through vomit so owner's may not be aware they are present in the body. The only way to diagnose and treat whipworm is through a stool examination which is completed at the vet. Over the counter medications are not effective in treating whipworm.

    Whipworms enter the dog's body through consumption of the eggs or larva of the whipworm. This can be through eating fecal material that is infected, by playing with toys or bones that have been in infected soil or areas or by the dog licking his or her paws or legs where the larva or eggs may be present. Sometimes licking the soil or eating grass can also lead to infection. Once in the stomach and digestive system the whipworms mature, attach to the cecum and then start laying eggs which further the cycle by being expelled with the feces. Whipworms can live for a significant amount of time outside of the dog's body as the hard, protective coat of the egg acts as an insulator. If you treat your dog for whipworm, be sure to talk to your vet about treating your yard and house to avoid re-infecting the pet at a later date.

    Article by Meghan Goodall of Oh My Dog Supplies, check for current specials on upscale dog beds online.


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