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Canine Tapeworms – Symptoms and Treatment

by Jay Sanders

Tapeworms, also known as Dipylidium caninum, are one of the five types of worms that your
best friend may fall victim to. The name itself comes from the shape of the parasite which
looks like a long (50cm-70cm) flat tape-like body.

The tapeworm attaches itself to the intestines of a dog where it feeds, however, contrary
to popular belief a human cannot directly contract tapeworms from a dog. A dog generally
picks this parasite up from consuming infected fleas, therefore it is best to ensure you treat
your dog for fleas to prevent tapeworms altogether
.

Diagnosis & Symptoms

Tapeworms are one of the easiest parasites to detect and among the most common out of
the various other worms a dog may get. Your dog will exhibit signs of weight loss,
nervousness, loss in appetite, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain. Tapeworms in dogs are
visible; you will commonly find pieces of the worm (still alive) around the anus and in the fecal
matter which looks similar to white rice.

Treatment

The first step in treating is preventing further parasites - this is done by ensuring that your
dog is properly treated for fleas so that another parasite will not find it's way into your dog.
Treating tapeworms in dogs can be summed up into two stages of severity. In the early
stage your dog will still be energetic and playful where a common over-the-counter
deworming treatment will disable the parasite in most cases.

Praziquantel(Droncit) is the name of the medication that is used for treating tapeworms
which can be purchased from most pet and livestock stores. In the later and more severe
stage of tapeworms, your pet may show signs of acute distress, be very inactive and have
notable weight loss. In this case you will need to take your pet to a professional veterinarian
who will administer the appropriate treatments, generally by injection or a liquid-based
chemical that can be ingested. In either of these stages you should still pay close attention
to your pets fecal matter to ensure there are no tapeworms in it and that your dog does
not continue to show symptoms of tapeworms.

The best way to get rid of pet tapeworms is to prevent them from reaching your pet's
belly? How do you do this? The answer is simply not "boarding" your pet. Leaving your pets
under the care of pet boarding establishments may be convenient for you, but in reality, it's
impossible for these people to check the animals for fleas (or other infestations) before your
pet mingles with another dog or cat.


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