According to Pets and Parasites, whipworm is one of the four most common types of intestinal parasites founds in dogs. They make themselves at home in the cecum of your dog, which is the part of the body where the large and small intestines come together. Your dog can easily acquire whipworm by digging in soil and consuming whipworm eggs or parts of feces from herself or other dogs that contain whipworm. Whipworms are approximately one-quarter of an inch long and can survive for up to five years. They can also reproduce multiple times inside of your dog’s body.
Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment of Whipworms in Dogs
This parasite can cause severe irritation to the lining of your dog’s intestines. When that happens, you are likely to notice at least some of these symptoms:
- Bloody and watery diarrhea
- General fatigue and listlessness
- Infection and death in severe cases
- Weight loss
Diagnosing whipworm in dogs can be tricky. That is because a veterinarian must spot at least one microscopic egg in a dog’s stool, and whipworms don’t mix with a dog’s stool every time he defecates. Another issue is that it can take up to 12 weeks after hatching for a female whipworm to lay eggs inside of your dog’s body. These two problems can often cause false negative results. Even if a result is negative, there is a high likelihood your dog actually does have whipworm if he continues to struggle with bloody, watery diarrhea.
At Grantsburg Animal Hospital, we often recommend a heartworm medication called Interceptor to treat whipworms since it is effective at killing them as well. We may use a different type of medication if your dog’s symptoms and unique lifestyle factors call for it. If that happens, we will need to space the treatments up to four weeks apart. Once a dog has tested positive for whipworm, it’s a good idea to continue to treat every several months as a proactive measure.
How to Prevent Your Dog from Getting Whipworm
The most effective thing you can do to prevent whipworm is to routinely remove your dog’s feces from your yard and stop him immediately if you notice him trying to eat the feces of another dog. It’s also important to keep up with your dog’s routine preventive care so we can take periodic stool samples to check for the presence of this parasite.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us at 715-463-2536 with additional questions or to schedule an appointment.
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Leptospirosis is a disease primarily recognized in dogs. Although other animals and occasionally even people can acquire it, this is rare. Genus leptospira is the name of a bacteria group responsible for causing symptoms. The most typical way that dogs acquire leptospirosis is by drinking water from ponds, rivers, and other standing bodies of water where the bacteria thrives.
How Dogs Become Infected with Leptospirosis and How to Recognize Its Symptoms
In addition to drinking water contaminated with the bacteria, your dog could pick it up through contact with the urine of another infected dog. This can happen when dogs dig in the same soil or share the same bedding. A bite from an infected dog or eating tissues of a smaller animal with leptospirosis could also cause your dog to acquire it.
Dogs typically have a strong enough immunity to fight off most of the leptospirosis infection. Unfortunately, it can travel quickly to the kidneys and cause significant health issues. Once infected, your dog will continue to shed the bacteria through urination for as long as several months. We encourage you to schedule an appointment with Grantsburg Animal Hospital right away if your dog engaged in any of the behaviors above and you feel concerned that she could have contracted the bacterial infection.
Your dog could pick up a strain of leptospirosis that ranges from mild to severe. His age and immunization status impact how much the disease affects him. The most common signs to watch for include:
- Discharge from eyes or nose
- Frequent urination
- Joint or muscle pain
- Lack of appetite
How to Treat and Prevent Leptospirosis
The simplest way to prevent your dog from picking up leptospirosis is to make sure that she receives all vaccinations on schedule. If you see your dog digging in soil, stop and redirect her to another activity. It’s also important that your dog has her own bedding and that you do not allow her to drink any type of stagnant water.
If you bring your dog into Grantsburg Animal Hospital due to a suspected case of leptospirosis, our veterinarian will first take a urine and blood sample. Determining whether your dog has leptospirosis or another condition can be challenging since it mimics so many other canine diseases. The most typical course of action for dogs who test positive for leptospirosis is to start on antibiotic medication right away.
We will need to provide more invasive treatment such as administering IV fluids if our veterinarian determines that the bacteria has affected your dog’s liver or kidneys. Dogs who continue to struggle with vomiting can receive a medication for that as well.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us at 715-463-2536 with additional questions or complete an online appointment request form.
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