Left: Life cycle in canines of the whipworm, Trichuris vulpis
We have been canine foster parents with a group called Planned Pethood for many months now, and have provided a temporary home for 15 dogs in that time. We took in a handsome Dachshund/Schnauzer mix on Friday who was given the name James Taylor, and we noticed over the weekend that he was looking somewhat listless.
By Sunday night he began vomiting, and over the course of the next day he lost his appetite and developed diarrhea. I took JT to the vet today and tests showed that he has a severe case of whipworms, also known as Trichuris vulpis.
This nasty intestinal parasite can be deadly if untreated, and it is clear that poor JT will need some time before he can be adopted. Given the fact that whipworms are highly contagious - a dog need only ingest one whipworm egg to become ill in a matter of weeks - I was concerned that our other dogs would develop the disorder.
Fortunately, after calling our veterinarian, we learned that the heartworm medicine we regularly give our dogs also protects against roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms. We have been using the Interceptor tablet, which contains the active ingredient milbemycin oxime.
No, this is not a paid plug, just a piece of advice from a pet owner who is grateful that he doesn't have to shell out several hundred dollars for preventive medicine to treat his dogs for whipworm. That will be more money I can spend on items such as fishing tackle next spring.