Confirming the presence of the Trichuris trichiura parasite -- more commonly known as whipworm -- can be a tricky prospect. Occasionally whipworms can be seen in the stool, but often it takes some searching to find evidence of the eggs. Often, your vet will treat for whipworms based on symptoms alone.
On the Hunt for Whipworm
Whipworm is a hardy parasite, making it easy for a dog to pick up an infection. It's often found in kennel situations and is passed along by ingesting infected water, food or animals. A mature whipworm runs between 1.75 and 3 inches, and though it's possible to see the small thread-like creature in your pup's poo, it's highly unusual. However, the vet may be able to see the parasite's eggs in a fecal sample. A centrifuge can help bring eggs to the stool's surface, making it easier to detect their presence. It takes awhile -- anywhere from 74 to 90 days -- for whipworm eggs to show up in a dog's feces after he ingests the eggs. Confirming the infection through a stool sample can be a matter of timing, so the vet may determine there's a whipworm infection by looking at your dog's symptoms. Signs of whipworm infection include bloody diarrhea, weight loss, anemia, mucus-covered stool and dehydration. Treatment includes medicine to kill the larvae and worms, as well as a follow-up exam to confirm the pest has been eradicated.