Trichuriasis in Cats
Cats transmit whipworms (Trichuris trichiura) into their system through ingestion of infested matter. Able to live in an environment anywhere from a few months to a few years, whipworm eggs can be present in soil, food, and water, as well as in feces and animal flesh. They can also be contracted from other animals. Additionally, whipworms infect cats of any age.
Whipworms can affect both dogs and cats. If you would like to learn more about how this disease affects dogs, please visit this page in the PetMD health library.
Symptoms and Types
A whipworm infection may present itself as a large bowel inflammation or bloody diarrhea, or it may be asymptomatic. Other symptoms commonly associated with a whipworm infection include dehydration, anemia, and weight loss. It is worth noting that symptoms may begin prior to any visual evidence of whipworm eggs.
Cats contract whipworms by ingesting infested or contaminated matter (e.g., food, water, flesh).
The veterinarian will confirm the diagnosis by conducting the fecal flotation procedure on a stool sample. If parasitic eggs or whipworms are present, they will float to the surface of the glass slide.
Treatment is generally done on an outpatient basis; your veterinarian will prescribe medication to destroy both the worms and larvae living within the cat's body.
Living and Management
A follow-up examination is advised to confirm that all eggs have been exterminated from the animal's system. This is generally accomplished by performing a fecal examination.
Other than properly sanitizing your pet's area, the best way to prevent a whipworm infection is to avoid placing your cat in closed or crowded quarters with other animals.
Image: Tom Wang via Shutterstock
A type of worm that lives in the intestines of certain living things; a type of parasite
A medical condition in which the body has lost fluid or water in excessive amounts
Term used to refer to a condition of having a disease or affliction but not displaying symptoms of it.
A condition of the blood in which normal red blood cell counts or hemoglobin are lacking.