Whipworms

What are whipworms?

Whipworms are intestinal parasites that are about 1/4 inch (6 mm) long. They live in the cecum and colon (large intestine) of dogs where they cause severe irritation to the lining of those organs. Whipworm infection results in watery, bloody diarrhea, weight loss, and general debilitation.

 

They are one of the most pathogenic worms found in dogs.

whipworm infections 1 2009 Whipworms

How do dogs get whipworms?

Whipworms pass microscopic eggs in the stool. The eggs are very resistant to drying and heat, so they can remain viable (alive) in the  environment for up to 5 years. Once laid, they embryonate (mature to an infective stage) in the environment and are able to re-infect the dog in 10-60 days. The   embryonated eggs are swallowed and hatch and mature to adults in the lower intestinal tract, completing their life cycle (see illustration).

How are whipworms  diagnosed?

“Parasites pass small numbers of eggs on an irregular basis, so some samples may be falsely negative.”

Whipworms are diagnosed by finding eggs with a microscopic examination of the stool. However, multiple stool samples are often required because these parasites pass small numbers of eggs on an irregular basis, so some samples may be falsely negative. In addition, it takes approximately 11-12 weeks after hatching for a female adult to begin to lay eggs.  Any dog with chronic large bowel diarrhea should be suspected to have whipworms, even if the stool sample was negative.
Thus, it is an accepted practice to treat chronic diarrhea by administering a whipworm dewormer. Response to treatment is an indication that whipworms were present but could not be detected on fecal examination.

whipworm infections 2 2009 Whipworms

How are whipworms treated?

There are several drugs that are very effective against whipworms. At least two treatments are needed, spaced at a three to four week interval. The most frustrating aspect of whipworm infections is the high rate of re-infection because the eggs are extremely hardy in the environment.  Therefore, if a dog is diagnosed with a whipworm infection, it is advisable to treat again every three to four months. The other option, which is much simpler, is to use a heartworm preventative that contains a whipworm medication. Whipworms are not nearly as common today because of widespread use of these modern heartworm prevention products.

Can I get whipworms from my dog?

No. Whipworms are not infectious to people. They are exclusive parasites of the dog.

This client information sheet is based on material written by: Ernest Ward, DVM
© Copyright 2009 Lifelearn Inc. Used and/or modified with permission under license.

Cat Care & Health : Cat Parasite Symptoms

The symptoms of cat parasites can either be external, such as scratching at fleas and ticks, or internal, such as vomiting and diarrhea from intestinal worms. Identify symptoms of harmful parasites on a cat withhelp from a practicing veterinarian in this free video on pet care. Expert: Robert Sidorsky, DVM Bio: Dr. Robert Sidorsky has been a practicing veterinarian for more than 25 years. Filmmaker: Christian Munoz-Donoso

Kitten & Cat Care : How to Treat Diarrhea in Cats

Puppy Care 101 puppy training academy for a well behaved puppy

Treating diarrhea in cats depends on the cause, which could be intestinal parasites, pancreatitis or irritable bowel disease. Seek medical attention to cure feline diarrhea with information from a practicing veterinarian in this free video on pet care. Expert: Marcia Martin Contact: www.drmarcia.wordpress.com Bio: Dr. Marcia Martin is a 1990 graduate of Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine. Filmmaker: Suzie Vigoin

Keeping your Pet Healthy on a Budget

dog-railroad-tracks-resizeThe economy is in gloomy and may be for years. Whether it’s the stock market falling or crazy bail outs, saving money in tough economic times is a challenge. Pet owners also feel the stress of trying to make ends meet and many may be tempted to take shortcuts with their pet’s health care. So, when and where can pet owners cut back?

Studies have repeatedly shown that a large majority of pet owners consider their pets as a family member. We spoil them with birthday parties, presents, and all manner of toys and treats to keep them happy. But, when money is tight, extra expenses need to go. Sadly, some pet owners choose to avoid veterinary visits as one means to save money. And believe it or not, others might give up their pets completely.

Knowing what you can safely do at home to lower your pet’s health care costs is a good way to insure a healthy pet and a healthy wallet. You should also know what to avoid!!

First, don’t skimp on wellness or preventive care. Vaccinations and parasite prevention are important parts of maintaining your pet’s health and yours as well. Diseases like rabies and Leptospirosis are zoonotic, meaning they can be spread between animals and people. Similarly, intestinal parasites or even fleas and ticks, are capable of transmitting serious diseases to our families.

Some owners might choose to buy vaccines online or from a pet store. While this idea sounds like a cost-saving measure, there are many risks. It is easy enough to learn how to give a shot, but can you trust that the supplier properly stored the vaccines? Vaccines are delicate biological suspensions and require constant refrigeration to be effective. Some need proper mixing in order to work correctly. Improper preparation could make the whole process worthless. Also, your pet may have an allergic reaction to the vaccine which means a costly trip to the Animal ER.

Choosing a lower cost flea product or a “do-it-yourself” dewormer at a general merchandise store is another option a pet owner might investigate to save money. Sadly, according to the Center for Public Integrity (www.publicintegrity.org), these over-the-counter products are likely responsible for a sharp increase in pet deaths and adverse events in recent years. The EPA has received more than 25,000 reports of over-the-counter pesticide reactions in pets since 2003. So, although you might save a few dollars on the product, the extra trip to the veterinarian will likely cost a lot more!

Over the Counter Flea Products may seem like a bargain, but many do not kill fleas and may in fact cause toxic reactions in your pet. I have had many pets come in still covered in fleas and these products were just applied. Care must also be taken not to use products labeled for dog use on cats. Permethrine products are extremely toxic to cats.

Pet emergencies shouldn’t be a place for shortcuts either. Dr. Elisa Mazzaferro, an emergency veterinarian in Colorado, says many owners simply use topical antibiotics on bite wounds or lacerations in order to avoid treating the pet when initially injured. But, most of these animals end up coming into the veterinary hospital with out of control infections. Dr. Mazzaferro cautions owners against bandaging their pets without proper training. If put on too tight, homemade bandages act like tourniquets, causing swelling of the limb and serious loss of circulation. And always check with your veterinarian before giving any over the counter human medication to your pet! Many pet poisonings are caused by human medications. Tylenol is lethal to cats.

But don’t worry; you can still save on your veterinary bills with a few simple steps at home.

First, (and this sounds very simple) play with your pet! Veterinary behaviorists all agree that a tired dog is a happy dog and happy dogs don’t tear up furniture or get into trouble. Since behavior issues are the number one reason for abandoning pets, this fun task might literally save your pet’s life.

Playing with your pet has health benefits as well. A well-exercised pet is less likely to be overweight and suffer from obesity related problems such as arthritis, certain cancers, or diabetes.

Next, when exercising your pet, use appropriate restraints and confinements. Pets who roam freely are often hit by traffic, get into fights or eat something dangerous. Emergencies like these can end up hitting your wallet very hard.

Even loving your pet has money saving benefits. Dr. Phil Zeltzman, a board certified veterinary surgeon in Pennsylvania, says that petting and caressing your pet can help find those little lumps and bumps sooner. Cancer is very common in our pets and can be very expensive to treat. Earlier detection generally means a better outcome and usually less expensive treatments.

Despite all of these precautions, some pets will just get into trouble or develop a serious disease. Although veterinary medicine is still a bargain compared to other health services, most of us would be hard pressed to pay a big veterinary bill out of pocket. Companies like Pets Best Insurance (www.petsbest.com) offer a variety of insurance plans to assist owners with unexpected costs. But even today only a small percentage of pet owners insure their pets’ health. (See Pet Resources for more Pet Insurance Links)
ASPCA Pet Health Insurance

CareCredit is also another option. CareCredit offers a full range of payment plans to meet every financing need. With the popular No Interest Payment Plans* there are no interest charges if the balance is paid in full within the specified time period. Or, if you prefer an even lower monthly payment, you can choose the low interest, Extended Payment Plan* for treatment plans from $1,000 to over $25,000. Plus, there are no up front costs, no annual fees, and no pre-payment penalties. It’s easy to apply and you’ll receive an online decision in seconds.carecredit-026

We all want to keep our furry friends safe and healthy, but it is challenging when just feeding the family stretches your budget. Talk with our staff about your pet’s specific health needs and see what should be addressed immediately and what can wait.

Debra Garrison, DVM

Puppy Care

Congratulations! Bringing home a new puppy is fun, but it is also a huge responsibility that lasts its lifetime, which can sometimes reach 12 to 18 years or longer. The first six months of your puppies life are the most critical and establishes his health and behavior for the rest of his life.puppy You, as the puppies advocate, must ensure he is protected from disease with a series of vaccinations and effective monthly parasite control. Thousands of inadequately vaccinated puppies never make it to see their first birthday because of diseases such as parvovirus and distemper. Thousands more will die from heartworm disease from the bite of one single mosquito, and even more may succumb to intestinal parasites, such as hookworms, even before they even reach 2 months old.

The majority of dogs relinquished to animal shelters is usually because of behavioral issues, such as dog aggressiveness that results in a dog bite, the inability to house train or unruly and destructive behavior. These are natural tendencies in dogs, and it is your responsibility to learn the how the dog thinks and use the natural, instinctive pack leadership skills to effectively modify both you and your dog’s behavior and solidify a great and rewarding relationship with your new puppy and family

Puppy proofing your home is another safety precaution you must establish. There are several hazards to young puppies you must look out for, such as electrical cords, toxic houseplants, foods that must not be fed, and toxic substances that need to be secured. Providing a safe haven for your puppy, such as a crate, when you are away, will keep him out of trouble and will also hasten house training.

There is so much more that I want to share with you that I have developed a series of newsletters and videos to help you take great care of your puppy and then well into his senior years. Register for my puppy care newsletter and you will also get some bonus e-books.

Recommendations for Puppies

Age 2, 4, 6 weeks of age

* deworm for hookworms and roundworms
* check for other intestinal parasites such as coccidia, tapeworms, whipworms and giardia

6-8 weeks of age

* Wellness Examination (WE) Check eyes, ears, heart, lungs, teeth, and other structures.
* DHPP (Distemper, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza, Parvo, )
* Parasite Check
* Dewormer
* Start Heartworm preventative
* Start Flea medication
* Behavior counseling (crate training)

12 weeks

* Wellness Exam
* DHPP #2
* Bordetella #1
* Leptospirosis #1 (4 way)
* Dewormer
* Heartworm and Flea medication

16 weeks

* Wellness Exam
* DHPP#3
* Rabies
* Lepto #2
* Bordetella #2
* Heartworm and Flea medications

5months and older

* Spay or neuter
* Blood profile to screen for congenital problems prior to surgery
* give heartworm and flea medication every month all year round
* feed high quality pet foods, avoid generic brands
* Start getting your pet used to brushing teeth while they are young.

10months old

* parvo booster
* bordetella booster
* parasite check

Annually

* Wellnes Examination
* Rabies
* DHPP
* Leptospirosis
* Bordetella
* Heartworm (Erhlichia and Lyme) test
* Parasite Check
* Lyme booster
* Giardia booster
* If pet has received 2 Rabies Vaccinations exactly 365 days or less in a row, then pet may go to a Rabies injection every 3 years. If the two vaccines are more than 365 days apart, then they must get another vaccine within the year.
* Pets age 7 years for every 1 calender year. Physical exams on a bi-annual basis are a good way to screen for health problems before they become major.

Dr. Debra Garrison
Dr. Debra Garrison