Whipworms, of the species Trichuris vulpis, are endemic to the UK and only infect canines. Adult whipworms live in the large intestine, and they attach to the gut wall by burrowing their heads (the ‘handle’ of the whip shape) into the gut lining.
Whipworms reach a maximum of 2-3 inches in length and reproduce by making eggs in their tail section. These eggs are very hardly, and can survive a wide range of environmental conditions – some reports claim they can survive in the soil for up to seven years! Dogs are infected by ingesting these eggs after they have developed enough to contain infective larvae.
Anecdotally, older dogs are more at risk of having a whipworm burden than younger dogs.