6 Signs of Whipworm in Dogs

Are you concerned about whether or not your dog could have whipworm? Do you want to learn how to recognize whipworm in dogs before it gets too serious in your pet? If so, you’ve come to the right place.

Whipworm in dogs

Common Symptoms of Whipworm in Dogs

Whipworms are a type of intestinal parasite that irritate the lining of the intestines. They may cause mild to severe symptoms, but they are often the underlying cause of many significant illnesses and conditions in dogs. By learning how to recognize this problem early, you can take your pet to the veterinarian for treatment as soon as whipworm symptoms start to occur.

6 symptoms of whipworm in dogs include:

1. Watery Diarrhea

Watery diarrhea goes along with many intestinal parasites in dogs, and especially with whipworms. If your dog’s diarrhea lasts more than a day and has an unexplained source, watch them closely for other signs of whipworm and consider calling your veterinarian.

Additionally, if their diarrhea lasts more than two days, take them to the vet. They may need fluids, and will need treatment for whatever is causing the problem.

Watery diarrhea is almost always the first symptom of whipworms in dogs that pet owners recognize. By responding quickly when you first notice this issue, you can prevent the condition from worsening in the coming days and weeks.

2. Blood in the Stool

Blood in the stool is one of the most common symptoms associated with whipworm infections in dogs. Although many conditions may cause bloody stool in your dog, whipworms are one of the most likely, especially in otherwise healthy adult dogs who have been vaccinated against parvovirus.

If your dog is still a young puppy and has bloody diarrhea, this could be a symptom of parvo and needs to be treated as an emergency. Otherwise, this symptom requires a prompt vet visit, but probably does not constitute a trip to the emergency vet unless the situation is very severe.

3. Vomiting

Vomiting is another common symptom associated with whipworms. Significant vomiting can be a sign of many intestinal parasites as well as other health problems in dogs; like most symptoms on this list, it must be considered along with other symptoms to determine the cause of the vomiting.

Additionally, some dogs may vomit periodically for seemingly no reason. If your dog vomits just once or twice and seems to be fine afterward, they probably do not have whipworms. If, however, the vomiting continues or gets worse, whipworms could be the culprit.

4. Weight Loss

Sudden, unexplained weight loss—especially a lot of weight loss in a short amount of time—is an indicator that something is wrong with your pet. On its own, this symptom can be associated with a wide range of different illnesses and conditions, ranging from the treatable to the terminal.

However, when combined with other symptoms on this list, weight loss is much more likely to be associated with an intestinal parasite like whipworms in dogs. If you notice your dog losing weight quickly and you aren’t sure why, take them to the vet for a full checkup to determine the underlying cause of this problem.

5. Whining When Pottying

Sometimes, whipworms may cause pain when having a bowel movement. If your dog is whining when they try to defecate, this may indicate some pain and difficulty passing the stool, which could be caused by intestinal parasites like whipworms.

Dogs may have pain when passing stool from other conditions, too. Even a short bout of constipation may cause this symptom, so it cannot be used alone to diagnose whipworms. Instead, look for this symptom along with others on this list. If your dog is showing other signs as well as pain when they try to poop, then it’s time to see the vet.

6. Visible Worms in Stool

Finally, another sign of whipworms in dogs to look out for are visible worms in your dog’s stool.

If your dog has been dealing with whipworm long enough for large numbers of mature worms to pass in the stool, you may see these worms when you go to pick up your dog’s poop. The worms will look a little bit like a whip—a string with one thicker end—which is where they get their common name.

Visible worms in your dog’s stool are not usually the first sign you may notice if your dog has whipworms. You may see most of the other symptoms on this list first, so don’t wait until you spot worms before taking your pet to the vet.

Bring Your Pet to Heart + Paw to be Treated for Whipworm in Dogs

If you notice any of these symptoms of whipworm in your pet, don’t wait to take them to the vet. While whipworms usually don’t constitute a visit to the emergency vet, you should schedule a trip to the regular vet as quickly as you can.

By working with your regular vet, you can figure out the right treatment option for your dog’s whipworm infection. In many cases, prompt treatment will help your dog recover fully without any lasting problems from this parasite.

At Heart + Paw, we have multiple locations staffed with compassionate and expert veterinary professionals. When you bring your pet in for whipworm in dogs, our team will develop the best treatment plan to help keep your pet as healthy and happy as possible. When it comes to your pet’s health, never wait to seek veterinary care. Book an appointment at any of our centers today.

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Heart + Paw was founded in 2018 by Chief Veterinary Officer Dr. George Melillo, who currently serves the Mid-Atlantic area. Heart + Paw offers a combination of veterinary care, pet grooming, and dog daycare to help be a resource in your pet parenthood journey.

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