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How to Treat Your Pet's Whipworm Infection

Medicines and Treatments to Prevent and Treat Whipworm

By Kat Sherbo. November 07, 2012 | See Comments

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    PetCareRx Staff Veterinarian

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How to Treat Your Pet's Whipworm Infection

Whipworm infections can be scary, but treating and preventing further infections can be simple and very effective. Here are the medications and techniques for treating your pet's whipworm.

Whipworms are parasites that can infect a dog or cat’s intestinal tract and feed on the pet’s blood, ultimately causing dehydration, anemia, and if left untreated, can lead to death.

Testing

Whipworm eggs will come out in your pet’s stool, but if there are only a few adult parasites present, not all of your pet’s feces will contain the eggs. For this reason, your vet may need to test your pet’s stool several times in order to positively identify whipworms.

Deworming Medication

Your pet will need a dewormer solution if they’ve been infected with whipworms. Be sure to find one that includes whipworms in its specific target. Some heartworm medications and other parasite dewormers will work against several types of parasites. If your dog or cat is already on a heartworm medication, though, ask your veterinarian before starting a separate whipworm dewormer.

How the Medication Works

Deworming medicines target the adult whipworms that have attached to the intestinal wall in the cecum, which is a part of the intestine where the small and large intestine meet. Dewormers attack the worms’ nervous system, so they release their bite on the intestines and pass out of the body through the stool. The medications cause hyperpolarization of the worm’s cells, which results in the worms losing their ability to move and bite.

Once in the outside environment, the worm dies. Because some worms may be in different life stages at the time of treatment, deworming medicines may have to be administered several times to be fully effective. Worms that aren’t yet adults won’t be affected by the medication, so you’ll have to catch them again as they reach the adult life stage.

Common Types of Dewormers

  • Febantel (in Drontal Plus)
  • Pyrantel pamoate (in Drontal, Drontal Plus, Strongid, Nemex, Heartgard Plus, Iverhart Plus, and Iverhart Max)
  • Praziquantel (in Drontal, Drontal Plus, and Iverhart Max)
  • Ivermectin (in Heartgard Plus, Iverhart Plus, and Iverhart Max)
  • Piperazine (in many over the counter products)
  • Fenbendazole (in Panacur)
  • Milbemycin oxime (in Trifexis)
  • Moxidectin (in AdvantageMulti for Dogs and AdvantageMulti for Cats)

Prevention

Since whipworms can be common in dogs, especially puppies, it’s essential to get your new pup checked immediately. Cats are less likely to be infected with whipworms, but if you notice any symptoms, take your pet to the veterinarian. 

Your vet may recommend a year-round preventative deworming medication if your pet is at a high risk of infection, or has had recurring infections.

To reduce the risk of your pet getting whipworms, clean the litterbox or the place in the yard where your dog eliminates on a regular basis so any eggs present can’t mature and become infective. Don’t let your dog sniff or eat the stool of another animal anywhere, like in a park or along your walking route.

Cleaning Infected Surfaces

If you can clean a surface you think may be infected with whipworm eggs, use household bleach and water in a 1:32 parts solution. If a large number of eggs have already spread in your yard, you may need to replace gravel, woodchips, or other un-cleanable surfaces.

More Ways to Prevent Disease in Pets

How a Healthy Weight Can Prevent Disease in Your Dog
Vitamins and Supplements for Dogs and Cats

This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your veterinarian with respect to your pet. It has, however, been verified by a licensed veterinarian for accuracy.

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