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.
Some pets with whipworm will not exhibit any symptoms if there aren’t enough worms present to cause much damage. The more worms are present, the more blood your pet will lose to the parasites, and the more serious symptoms will become.
The most common symptom of a whipworm infection is bloody diarrhea. The stool will also contain whipworm eggs, which will be ready to re-infect the same or another host in two to four weeks. For these reasons, keep your pet’s litter box or your yard clean on a regular basis.
The eggs in the stool will be microscopic, but a veterinary test will be able to identify them if there are enough in a stool sample. Since eggs may not be shed with every stool, your veterinarian may not be able to identify whipworm eggs after one test, and testing again may be necessary.
Other Common Symptoms of Whipworm
Pets with whipworm will also likely show signs of:
Severe Anemia and Death
If left untreated, a large whipworm infestation can cause a reduction in red blood cells, or anemia, in your pet. Without enough healthy blood cells, your pet’s body won’t be getting the proper circulation of oxygen, which will result in lethargy, weight loss, and in severe cases, death.
If your dog or cat has whipworms, treatments like deworming medications are very effective.
More on Spotting Symptoms of Illness
Warning Signs Your Cat Might Be Sick
Symptoms of Heartworm Disease
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.