Whipworms are nematodes of the caecum and colon of wild felids that can sporadically infect domestic cats.
|Parasite species: Trichuris campanula, Trichuris serrata|
|Common name: Whipworms|
|Hosts: Wild and domestic felids|
|Pre-patent period: 62-91 days|
|Location in the host: Caecum and colon|
|Transmission route: Ingestion of embryonated eggs|
Whipworm infections are well tolerated by domestic cats, which typically remain asymptomatic.
Whipworm infections in cats can be confirmed by standard faecal flotation (SOP 1) using a flotation solution with SG ≥ 1.20. Eggs (approximately 54-85 x 34-40 µm) have a thick, yellow-brown, symmetrical shell, with polar plugs at both ends  (Fig. 1). Eggs of Trichuris spp. should be differentiated from those of other parasites, including Eucoleus aerophilus and Pearsonema feliscati (which is found in the urine). Adults have a characteristic ‘whip’ shape with a long, thin anterior end (embedded in mucosa) and stout posterior end (Fig. 2).
Refer to Table 1 for anthelmintics known to be efficacious for the treatment of Trichuris spp. in dogs and that are likely to be efficacious for the treatment of Trichuris spp. in cats when administered at labelled doses.
The control of feline whipworms can be achieved through proper diagnoses, therapy and sanitation of the cattery. Overcrowding of cats should be avoided. Faeces should be removed daily from the litterbox.
For further control options refer to the General Considerations and Recommendations section of these guidelines.
 Bowman DD, Hendrix CM, Lindsay DS, Barr SC. Feline Clinical Parasitology. Iowa State University Press, Ames, USA. 2002.