Canis ISSN: 2398-2942

Trichuris vulpis

Synonym(s): T. vulpis; Whipworm

Contributor(s): Stephen Barr, Peter Irwin, Ian Wright

Introduction

Classification

Taxonomy

  • Class: Nematode
  • Order: Trichocephalida
  • Superfamily: Trichuridae
  • Genus: Trichuris.
  • Species: Vulpis, campanula.

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Clinical Effects

Epidemiology

Habitat

  • Adults in cecum, colon and possibly terminal ileum of dog and other canids.
  • Eggs in environment.

Lifecycle

  • See T. vulpis lifecycle Lifecycle Trichuris vulpis - diagram :
    • Adult.
    • Egg (unembryonated).
    • Egg containing infective larvae.

Transmission

  • Feco-oral passage and ingestion of egg.

Pathological effects

  • Adult worms lie with anterior end in tunnels under cecal epithelium Trichuris vulpis embedded in caecal mucosa.
  • Inflammation, hyperemia and erosion of epithelium around worms and larvae in mucosa.
  • Hemorrhage into cecum presumably from eroded epithelium; also worms move and so hemorrhage probably from abandoned tunnels.
  • Rarely, larvae or adults may penetrate to submucosa with resultant inflammation, peritonitis Peritonitis , fibrosis.
  • Clinical signs may include bouts of diarrhea alternating with periods of normal stools. Diarrhea is large-barreled in nature (contains mucus and flecks of blood; accompanied by straining).
  • Whipworm infection may result in severe electrolyte abnormalities (hyperkalemia, hyponatremia).

Other Host Effects

  • Adult feeds on fluid and epithelial debris in tunnel in cecum.

Control

Control via animal

  • Anthelmintic treatment.
  • Remove dog from soil runs but eggs will survive in concrete runs.
  • Assume other dogs in same environment infected.
  • Anthelmintic treatment every 3 months might be considered in certain environments.
  • Some monthly heartworm medications, eg milbemycin oxime Milbemycin oxime can be used to control whipworm infections.

Control via chemotherapies

Either Fenbendazole Fenbendazole 50 mg/kg/day for 3 days - 71.5-100% efficacy versus immature trichuris (*single report).
Or Pyrantel Pyrantel embonate /Febantel/Praziquantel Praziquantel /Mebendazole Mebendazole.
Or Milbemycin oxime Milbemycin.
Or Moxidectin Moxidectin.
Or Dichlorvos.
Or Oxibendazole (with diethylcarbamazine citrate in Filaribits Plus).

Not all infected dogs respond to treatment and most drugs are ineffective against immatures, so efficacy of treatment should be monitored.

Control via environment

  • Remove feces to prevent contamination of soil and pens.
  • Eggs on concrete susceptible to desiccation (dry heat and sunlight).

Diagnosis

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from VetMed Resource and PubMed.
  • Bauer C, Taubert A & Hermosilla C (1999) Efficacy of two flubendazole formulations against Tichuris vulpis in naturally infected dogs. Vet Rec 145, 48.
  • Blagburn B L, Lindsay D S, Vaughan J L et al (1996) Prevalence of canine parasites based on fecal flotation. Comp Cont Educ Pract Vet 18, 483-509.
  • Campbell B G (1991) Trichuris and other trichinelloid nematodes of dogs and cats in the United States. Comp Cont Ed Pract Vet 13, 769-778

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