Tapeworm in Puppies?

Is it possible for puppies to get tapeworms? My little dog is sick and I don't know what's wrong with him. What are the symptoms and if it in facts has tapeworms, what should I do now to get the bugs out of him? Please help.

asked by Dylan in Dogs | 3411 views | 09-16-2009 at 10:10 PM

Tapeworm infection is an invasion and multiplication of the small intestinal tract by a parasite, most commonly, Dipylidium.


Ingestion of an intermediate (in between) host can result in tapeworm infection. Fleas and lice are intermediate hosts for Dipylidium caninum (the most common tapeworm seen in dogs) and wild animals (rabbits) for some of the other species.

What to Watch For

# Most infected individuals are usually unaffected
# Anal irritation
# Rarely, diarrhea or intestinal obstruction


A thorough knowledge of history and clinical signs is always important and, most often, helpful in making the diagnosis. Diagnostic tests necessary to confirm a diagnosis of tapeworm infection include:

# Tapeworm segments (often referred to as "pieces of rice") identified on the feces or around the anal area

# Fecal flotation (visualizing eggs)

answered by Dennis | 09-16-2009 at 10:10 PM

What are Tapeworms?

Tapeworms are a parasite that are found in the small intestine of dogs. The most common tapeworm found in dogs is the Dipylidium Caninum. They are flat and segmented, white in colour and can grow up to 20cm long. They attach themselves to the dog's intestine by their hook like mouth.

How does a dog get tapeworms?

The tapeworm cycle begins with the flea larvae eating fecal matter that contains tapeworm eggs.

The eggs hatch inside the flea and become cysticercoids.

A dog may then swallow a flea that contains these cysticercoids while chewing or biting at an itchy area on it's skin.

Once the flea passes into the dog's intestine the flea is broken down and the cysticercoids develop into an adult tapeworm.

The tapeworm attaches itself to the lining of the intestine and feeds off the nutrients.

As the tapeworm matures the tail segments drops off. These segments are mobile. Each segment contains the eggs of the tapeworm. The egg packets are passed in the feces of the dog.

The eggs are then ingested by the flea larvae

The most common areas that tapeworm eggs are found are in the dog's bedding and in your carpet.

Dogs can also acquire tapeworms by eating infected rodents or lizards.

answered by Sarah | 09-16-2009 at 10:11 PM

How is tapeworm infection diagnosed?

An infection with Dipylidium is usually diagnosed when the white, mobile segments are seen crawling on your dog or in the stool. Tapeworms are not usually detected by the routine fecal examination performed by the veterinarian. Because of this, veterinarians depend on the guardian to notify them of possible tapeworm infection in the dog.

Echinococcus infections are harder to diagnose than the tapeworm caused by fleas because the segments are small and not readily seen.

How are the tapeworms treated?

Treatment is simple and, fortunately, very effective. A drug which kills tapeworms is given, either orally or by injection. It causes the tapeworm to dissolve within the intestines. Since the worm is usually digested before it passes, it is not visible in your dog's stool. These drugs should not cause vomiting, diarrhea, or any other adverse side-effects.

Control of fleas is very important in the management and prevention of tapeworm infection. Flea control involves treatment of your dog, the indoor environment and the outdoor environment where the dog resides. If the dog lives in a flea-infested environment, reinfection with tapeworms may occur in as little as two weeks. Because the medication which treats tapeworm infection is so effective, return of the tapeworms is almost always due to reinfection from the environment.

answered by Hellu | 09-16-2009 at 10:12 PM

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