We never tire of monitoring the hygiene of our pet, we want our dog to live and grow healthy. But we also want him to develop freely and enjoy spaces where he shares his adventures with other dogs, and even gets distracted by wild animals. The hygienic-sanitary conditions and the overcrowding in these spaces will determine the risk of parasites that can infest and pose a risk to our pet.
It is practically unlikely to prevent the existence of the whipworm, of the family of gastrointestinal nematodes (Trichuris tulips), which can be present in the soil, abandoned food, water, as well as in the feces and meat of infected animals. Curiosity, innate in our friends, will lead them to sniff out other animal droppings, eat food scraps, and drink unsupervised water. It is then when that curiosity betrays them and unprotects them against this parasite that manages to enter their body through the mouth and fix itself, mainly, on the mucosa of their large intestine (cecum and colon).
What is trichinosis?
The whipworms, disease caused by parasitic nematode, is a disease whose severity depends on the number of worms that can be ingested or are developed within your body. The disease can cause blood loss and lead to a chronic disease, or even fatal if it is not treated in time.
What is the life cycle of the whipworm?
The whipworm has a direct life cycle. Adult female worms release eggs from inside the intestine of an infected animal. The eggs are evacuated with fecal matter, being very resistant to the environment, and can survive in the environment for at least 5 years.
The larvae begin their life after hatching the eggs inside the feces deposited on the ground by a contaminated animal. These infective larvae penetrate our dog by direct ingestion of water, food or by licking contaminated objects. It is a small worm, between 3 and 5 centimeters, with a rounded silhouette and a characteristic whip shape, thin on the front and thick on the back (handle shape). The worm will lodge in the lining of the large intestine and begin to suck blood. The infected dog will not only suffer from the disease, but will also act as the originator of the life cycle that the worm needs, eventually excreting the eggs with its feces.
What are the symptoms of whipworm disease?
Generally, whipworms affect both puppies and adult dogs. Whipworm infection can go undetected if the parasite is present in small numbers. But it can be especially complex if the amount is large, since it can trigger an inflammatory reaction of the mucosa, and occasional bleeding, which if it reaches a chronic stage can cause the formation of adhesions between the cecum and the peritoneum. Therefore, if we detect any symptoms, we must go to our veterinarian to carry out an examination in search of the parasite in the stool.
The most notable and common symptoms of this disease are:
- Diarrhea, which may be accompanied by blood
- Presence of blood in the stool
- Weight loss and physical weakening
How to prevent the spread of the whipworm?
The control and treatment of these parasites is based on the use of anti-parasitic treatments, which depending on the degree of risk of infection should be applied with one frequency or another.
Sometimes, and if different dogs and animals live in the same area, the soils must be changed and replaced, to minimize the risk and the presence of possible whipworm eggs.
Other measures can be to disinfect the cages and the shared houses, not to leave food or water unattended, to collect the excrement as soon as possible, etc.
However, the best preventive measure will be to take our animal to the veterinarian on a monthly basis, so that it can be given Double Monthly Protection, thus guaranteeing the protection of our pet inside and outside its body.
Remember that even if it is winter and the temperatures are low, there are parasites, such as the lungworm, that do not disappear. So it is important a correct monthly ant parasitic prevention against the most common internal and external parasites in our environment, to have our pet protected every day of the year.