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PetStuff Online Newsletter
Volume 1 Issue 4 September 3, 1999
by PetStuff Online Store
Produced by Dr Dan
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and the Neighbor's Dog"
This week I want to start by
telling a true story: I used to have a little white Poodle/Terrier cross named
"Ralph". No matter how often I wormed him, I just couldn't seem to get rid of
his Whipworms. Everytime I wormed him, three weeks later he had more Whipworm eggs
in his feces. This went on for nearly a year, until I started seeing the neighbors
dog as a patient. This dog lived on a 25 foot chain near his dog house the year-around.
His owners must have felt guilty and tossed him a rawhide chew about three or four
times a week. Ralph, being the little food thief that he was, stole his chews everytime he
got the chance. When I checked a fecal sample on the neighbors dog the first thing I
discovered was Whipworm eggs! This taught me a lesson about how tough and infective these
little eggs can be.
What are they?
If you look at the picture below
(the insets) you will notice that the Whipworm buries it's entire head in the wall of the
large intestine and cecum (appendix). Isn't it strange that parasites have particular
areas of the host's body that they like to live in? Why not the small intestine wall?
Who knows, but they are comfortable living in the large bowl and cecum of
dogs only! Like the Hookworm, Whipworms are also very tiny and can't be seen with
the un-aided eye. They are called Whipworms because they have a larger head and a
whip-like thin tail section.
How do our dogs get
After the above story, I think
you already know, "Dogs have to eat the eggs to get Whipworms". Whips
are not passed from mother to offspring; they make no migrations through the skin; they
never get in the mothers milk - Plain and simple, "The only way to get a Whipworm is
to eat the egg". Take a moment to look at the eggs in the image below.
Notice the thick brown shell? This shell is so tough that the eggs can live in the
soil for years. Although they resist freezing the eggs are succeptible to drying and
sunlight. This is another reason for concrete surfaced kennels.
As a dog walks
over the eggs and licks its' paws or egg infested soil gets on toys or food or water
dishes the eggs are swallowed. Within 1 to 3 months after the egg is swallowed it
hatches in the intestine; attaches to the intestine wall and begins sucking blood and
What are the
signs of Whipworm infestation?
Signs may include any or all of
the following: Inapparent infestations; nonspecific diarrhea; blood-streaked
diarrhea; unthriftiness; weight loss. Most infestations are inapparent. The
problem is that Whipworms can precipitate "recurring" diarrhea and colitis.
Since the adult Whipworms may not lay eggs everyday, if your veterinarian performs
a fecal flatation and looks for Whipworm eggs they might not be found. But the
diarrhea keeps coming and going. Like the Hookworm, Whipworms also suck blood, but not
nearly as much. What happens is that when the Whipworm buries it's head in the
intestine wall it causes a tremendous inflammatory reaction. The inflammed intestinal wall
gets red, erroded and prone to invasion by bacteria. I believe this is the
underlying cause of the intermittent diarrhea. We treat the diarrhea with
antibiotics and it goes away, only to come back later. We kill the bacteria, but if we
miss the Whipworms. The damage to the intestine wall continues allowing recurrant
bacterial infection to invade the intestine and cause the large bowl diarrhea.
What is the treatment?
It is easy to get rid of
Whipworms. Just give any effective oral wormer, but you have to be careful what you
use. Most over-the-counter wormers won't touch them. We use fenbendazole, the active
ingredient in Panacur. This is a powder wormer that must be given once a day for
three days. The problem is the eggs. You have to clean, clean, clean. It
is best to replace all old toys and bones and other items that the dog likes to chew on.
If your dog is kenneled or tied out, it needs to be moved to new ground to get away from
the eggs. What if you can't move the pen? In that case you need to administer a low
level wormer everyday to prevent reinfestation. I like to use Filaribits Plus a
once-a-day heartworm preventative that also kills Hookworms, Roundworms and Whipworms.
Many of my patients that live in dirt-run kennels take Filaribits Plus to eliminate the
reinfection problem from the worm eggs or larva in the soil.
Can humans get
No, you are safe with this worm.
They only affect the canine breeds.
Be Safe - Be
Sure - Have Your Vet Check Your Pet's Feces for Intestinal Worms Twice a Year!
If you don't
mind, I would like to continue discussing the parasites of dogs and cats for the next few
weeks. Here is the schedule:
- "Those Disgusting Tapeworms"
September 17th - Demodex Mites & The Red Mange
September 24th - Sarcoptic Mange - You can get it!
Pet Humor in Closing
Rules For Cats
To get a door opened, stand on your hind legs and hammer it with your forepaws
and/or yowl. Once the door is opened, it is not necessary to use it. After you have
ordered an "outside" door opened, stand halfway in and out and think about
several things. This is particularly important during very cold weather, rain, snow or
mosquito season. Protest if the human uses a foot to "encourage" you to leave.
Sometimes doors can be opened by Cats without the aid of humans. Such doors must be kept
open for the Cat(s) to investigate within any time. Swinging doors are to be avoided at
all costs; their nickname "Tail-Biter" tells it all.
If a human goes
into a room, especially the bathroom, and closes the door to exclude a Cat, meow
pathetically and try to stick your paws under the door to open it. If the human relents,
lets you in and then closes the door, immediately demand to be let out. If the human lets
you out and closes the door, immediately demand to be let in again. This is especially fun
when it's the bathroom and there are guests. This game can be played until the human wises
up and hoses you with a squirt gun. Scuttle out of range and wash yourself, to pretend
that the assault on your Dignity didn't happen.
Rules for Dogs
I do not always have to have the "last bark".
I do not need to bark when the computer makes a funny warning noise.
I will learn that howling when I hear sirens doesn't help firemen find their way.
I will not atttack the cactus and then bark when it bites back.
I will not back-talk, mumble or grumble at Mom and Dad all through dinner, after
they make me go and sit on my bed because I drool.
I will not bark at my human just because she's wearing a hat.
I will not bark at my brother who has the ONLY desirable chewtoy even though there
are a dozen identical ones.
I will not bark at the dog (in the aquarium, floating outside the window, in the
oven). It's just my reflection.
I will not bark at Daddy when he sneezes.
I will not do a "bark and hold" on the plastic Santa Claus on the
neighbor's front lawn.
I now realize that the monster in the yard that I so carefully stalked and barked
at all night was just a paper sack blowing in the wind...
Images used in this publication
taken from Hill's Atlas of Clinical Anatomy, Published by Veterinary Medicine Publishing
Company, Inc. A publication donated to veterinarians by the Hill's Pet Food Company
to teach clients about their dogs and cats in sickness and in health. Hill's
Pet Food Company produces Hill's Prescription Diets and Science Diet Premium Pet Food
Have A Fun and Safe Labor Day
Later, Dr Dan