Whipworm eggs can remain alive in the soil for up to 5 years. The eggs of these intestinal parasites are not killed by heat or cold, so they can survive all seasons. Although whipworms are commonly carried by wild animals, if these animals defecate in your yard, they can infect your soil. From there, the worms can infect your pets, your family members, and yourself. So, it’s essential to treat your pets and family with the help of medical professionals if there has been a whipworm infection.
Can Whipworm Eggs Survive Winter?
Whipworm eggs can easily survive winter. Freezing cold temperatures do not do any damage to whipworm eggs. Instead, the eggs lie dormant until they are ingested by an animal.
- Whipworm eggs survive winter without damage.
- Hot summer temperatures also do not kill whipworm eggs.
- To kill whipworm eggs in the soil, follow our guide to getting whipworms out of your yard.
Hot and cold temperatures found in nature are not powerful enough to kill whipworm eggs in the soil. So, you will need to find stronger methods. Otherwise, the whipworm infestation can continue, since your pets can become reinfected with whipworm even after they are treated.
How Long Does a Whipworm Live?
Although whipworm eggs can lie dormant for up to 5 years, the lifespan of the adult worms after the eggs hatch is much shorter. When the egg is ingested by an animal, the parasitic worm that hatches will live for 4–5 months.
- Whipworm eggs live for up to 5 years.
- Adult whipworms live for 4–5 months.
- Female whipworms begin laying eggs 6–12 weeks after infection.
During their lifespan, adult whipworms breed in the animal’s intestines and begin to lay new eggs. These eggs are passed out with the animal’s stool. A female whipworm can begin laying eggs 6–12 weeks after it infects an animal.
How Contagious are Whipworms in Dogs?
Whipworms are extremely contagious and can easily be passed between dogs. An infected dog passes whipworm eggs out with its feces. If the eggs are ingested by another dog, they will become infected.
- Whipworms are very contagious and can quickly be passed from one dog to another.
- Infected dogs pass whipworm eggs out when they defecate.
- Dogs are infected with whipworm when they eat whipworm eggs.
- A dog that walks on the ground where a whipworm-infected dog has defecated may ingest the eggs when they lick their paws.
It may seem unlikely that your pet could become infected since your dog probably does not eat feces. However, dogs clean their paws by licking them. When your dog walks in an area (such as a yard or dog park) where infected dogs have defecated, whipworm eggs can cling to their paws and fur. Then, when your dog licks itself, it can ingest the eggs and become infected with whipworms.
Are Whipworms Contagious to Humans?
According to the CDC, whipworms are contagious to humans. They can even be passed from dogs to humans, although this is rare. A dog that walks or rolls on the whipworm-infected ground can pass the eggs onto you when you pet your dog or when you touch a surface your dog has had its feet on (such as a couch or bed). Then, if you eat without washing your hands first, you can become infected with whipworms.
- Trichuris vulpis, the species of whipworms that infects dogs, can be passed to humans, as shown by this case report.
- A dog that has walked on the whipworm-infected ground can pass the eggs onto your bed, couch, or other surfaces in your home.
- Touching a whipworm-infected surface, then eating without first washing your hands can cause a whipworm infection.
Human whipworm infection is most common in children, who may not be as diligent about washing their hands after playing with dogs. If your family pet has a whipworm infection, speak to your doctor to determine if your family is at risk.
Are Whipworms Hard to Get Rid Of?
Whipworms in pets can be treated with common dewormer medications available for pets. This can kill the infection in your pet within days. However, it’s essential to continually deworm your pet after a whipworm infection. This will prevent reinfection from whipworm eggs that remain in the soil.
- Use a pet dewormer to kill whipworms within days.
- It is often necessary to follow a dewormer schedule for years after your pet has a whipworm infection, since eggs in infected soil can easily cause a reinfection.
- Work with a veterinary professional to create a dewormer schedule for your pet.
Since whipworm eggs can survive in the ground in your yard for 5 years, you should maintain a strict dewormer schedule for your pets for several years after they’ve been infected. Speak to your vet about dewormer medication and the proper schedule for medicating your pet.
What Kills Whipworms in the Ground?
Whipworms in the ground are extremely hard to kill. The least extreme remedy is to treat the soil with large amounts of agricultural lime. 40–50 pounds of lime per 1,000 square feet has been known to kill whipworms. The other effective means for killing whipworms in the ground require removing old topsoil and replacing it, or paving over the soil.
- Adding large amounts of agricultural lime to your topsoil.
- Removing topsoil and replacing it.
- Paving over whipworm-infested soil.
- Treating your pets with a regular dewormer schedule.
Since killing whipworms in the ground is very difficult, the most common solution is to put your pets on a dewormer schedule for at least 5 years, to prevent reinfection. This is usually the most cost-effective and useful solution.
How Do You Get Rid of Whipworms Naturally?
Dewormer medications are the best way to get rid of whipworms. Natural remedies, including specialized diets and supplements, are not clinically proven to cure a whipworm infection. When dealing with parasitic infections it is best to work with a veterinary professional who can prescribe dewormers that are safe and effective.
- There are currently no natural treatments that are proven to cure whipworms in humans or animals.
- Dewormer is the most reliable way to get rid of whipworms in your pet.
- Liming your soil—or replacing the topsoil—are natural solutions that can help destroy whipworms in the ground.
Since agricultural lime is a natural product derived from limestone, it can be considered a natural remedy for whipworms in soil. So is replacing topsoil in your yard. Both of these are natural processes that help to end whipworm infestation.
How Long Can Whipworms Live in Soil?
If your pet has been infected with whipworms, you may be wondering how long these parasites can exist in the soil. Here are the answers:
- Whipworm eggs can survive in the soil for up to 5 years.
- Summer heat and winter cold do not kill whipworm eggs.
- When ingested, whipworm eggs will hatch inside an animal and continue the infection.
- Whipworms can easily be passed between animals.
- Humans can be infected with whipworms.
- Whipworms in the soil are very hard to kill and require extreme measures.
- Regular treatment with dewormer is the best way to keep your pet whipworm-free until you can be sure all the whipworm eggs in the soil are dead.
When dealing with whipworm or any other parasitic worm infection in your pet, always contact your veterinarian first for advice. They can recommend the best treatment plan and may be able to prescribe powerful dewormer that is effective against whipworms.