Tapeworms are one of the most common types of “worms” found in the dog and cat and they are more difficult to detect.
DIAGNOSIS: Microscopic examination of fecal specimen usually does NOT disclose the presence of tapeworms. YOU can sometimes find tapeworms by actually seeing the smaller tapeworm segments in the stools or adhered to the fur around the anus.
Segments may be found on the surface of freshly-passed stools, where they look like small grains of “rice” or “cucumber seeds”. Segments may or may not be seen moving. These segments may sometimes be seen “crawling” out from the rectum, or attached to the hair in the rectal area. They sometimes may be found in the pet’s bedding.
Segments are NOT passed regularly. There may be several in a bowel movement, and then none seen for a week or two.
IF SEEN ONLY ONCE, THEY OBVIOUSLY PROVE THAT THE PET HAS A TAPEWORM INFESTATION. The condition may go undetected for months or years, especially in pets that eliminate outside where the stools are not usually seen by the owner.
TRANSMISSION: Tapeworms must go through “Intermediate Hosts”, which is primarily the FLEA in dogs and cats. Infested birds or rabbits can also spread the parasite to your pet.
Fleas eat the segments passed by the pet and then become infested with tapeworm “larvae”. The pet then eats the flea when it gets on your pet’s skin and the tapeworm larvae hatch out of the flea and infects your dog.
TREATMENT: Effective medication is available only through your veterinarian. The medication is available in tablet form. Over-the-counter medications will NOT be effective against tapeworms! Don’t waste YOUR money.
PREVENTION: As in all disease, prevention is far superior to treatment.
1. KEEP PETS FREE OF FLEAS!
2. Do NOT allow pets to eat birds, rabbits, rodents, etc.
3. Treat infested pets as we direct.
PUBLIC HEALTH: Humans CAN NOT be infected with the tapeworm from the dog UNLESS they eat infested FLEAS! Should a child eat tapeworm segments, it will NOT cause any problem whatsoever. The intermediate host (which is the flea) would have to be ingested to cause tapeworm infestation. Tapeworms in humans is caused by another type of parasite found in raw infected meat.