To continue with our Worms 101 discussion, whipworms are another common parasite in this area. They are passed through the feces and are capable of surviving up to 5 years in the soil. If they are ingested, they can cause vomiting, diarrhea (with blood and mucus), weight loss, anemia, electrolyte abnormalities, metabolic crisis, and even intestinal obstruction, but only in dogs, since cats aren’t affected. These clinical signs can be so severe that they may mimic other diseases. Whipworms can be difficult to diagnosis since they are intermittent egg shedders. Fortunately, they are usually easy to treat and there are multiple products available for monthly prevention.
Our final worm of discussion is the mysterious white rice in the poop also known as the tapeworm. These pesky critters live in other hosts and are ingested. This commonly happens when your pet has fleas and accidently ingests them while chewing at themselves. It can also happen with outdoor cats that frequently catch small rodents. Worms are never good to have, but this is probably the best if you must have one. They typically don’t cause any health issues other than possible increased flatulence and minor weight loss. So, get rid of those fleas for prevention of tapeworms. And with that, class dismissed.
Thanks, and have a happy week.
Dr. Michael Hicks
Hicks Animal Clinic