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Whipworm (Trichuris suis)

(507) This is about 50-80mm long and shaped like a whip. It can also affect other species including people. It is a common world-wide parasite.

The life cycle

This is direct, the eggs being passed out into the faeces where they become infective within 3-4 weeks. They can remain viable for many years outside the pig. After ingestion the larvae hatch out and penetrate the intestinal wall to develop further before moving to the large intestine and caecum where they mature into adults. In dry and hygienic environments this worm is of little significance but in poor conditions it can become a major pathogen.

Clinical signs

Large numbers can cause economic loss with depressed growth rate and feed conversion efficiency. The larvae burrow into the intestinal wall forming nodules, causing irritation, inflammation, haemorrhage and anaemia. Diarrhoea with blood and mucous occur in heavy infections.

Diagnosis

The eggs in the faeces are characteristic. Trichuris suis should always be considered when there is diarrhoea with blood. It is important to differentiate this from swine dysentery and colitis.

Treatment

  • See Fig.11-9. below
Management control and prevention
  • See introduction.


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