Roundworm—Trichuris trichura causes Trichuriasis (Whipworm).

Trichuris (Whipworm) is a roundworm present all over the world, but mostly it resides in tropical climates and in places with poor sanitation. We see it in the veterinary world in places that have lots of species of animals or lots of dogs where the owner’s do not pick up the poop ever from their yards or even in the house (Yes, I know—disgusting). The whipworm gets its name because the adult Trichuris actually looks like a little whip. The eggs in feces, seen even under low power of a microscope, are also quite characteristic:

Roundworm-Trichuris (Whipworm) 1

Trichuris (Whipworms) male and female

 

 

Symptoms are not present or can include rectal prolapse following bloody diarrhea. T

Transmission: They are spread through the feces and infect the body via fecal-oral ingestion or the mature eggs. The whipworm can survive six years in the host and lives in the cecum and descending colon (left lower abdomen area) where it embeds in the inner layer of the gut. The adult Trichuris lay eggs for about a year—3000 to 20,000 per day!

Diagnosis is through finding the eggs in a fecal floatation or by seeing them in the lining of the gut with an endoscope.

Roundworm-Trichuris (Whipworm) 2

Whipworm egg (Trichuris tricura)

Treatment is with Mebendazole, Vermox, Revapol, Vermicol, Vermidil, and Vermin, but Pyrantel pamoate and Combantrin have also been used off label. Off Label means that the Food and Drug Agencies have not tested to see if this is a safe or effective treatment for this particular parasite.

Prevention: There are no simple and effective ways of removing whipworm eggs from the soil around your house. However, a contaminated environment can infect your dog over and over again. The best way to combat reinfestation is to make sure your dog’s quarters are sunny and dry, since whipworm eggs require moisture. Try to place him in an area of fresh new gravel, pavement or soil.

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