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Tapeworm in dogs: symptoms, cause, treatment and prevention

There are different types of tapeworms. They are flatworms that frequently parasitize dogs. When an animal is infested, certain signs can be revealing. Symptoms are most likely to appear when the dog is severely infected. What are the modes of contamination of the dog by tapeworms? Is there an effective treatment and can tapeworms be prevented in dogs? Let's take stock of the situation.

Tapeworms common in dogs

Tapeworms are parasites of the digestive tract. They are one of the many worms that can infest the dog.

These plathelminthes (flatworms), called tapeworms or taenias, belong to the Taeniidae family and to the Taenia genus and to the cestodes class. In common parlance, they are called tapeworms. The most common tapeworm found in dogs is Taenia pisiformis, which can reach an impressive length of nearly 200 cm as an adult. Other tapeworms found in dogs include Taenia ovis, Taenia hydatigena, Taenia multiceps and Taenia serialis. There is also another parasitic cestode of the dog: Dipylidium caninum responsible for dipylidiosis.

In the case of echinococcal tapeworms, contamination is problematic because it can be transmitted to humans, in whom it is sometimes fatal. Echinococcosis is a zoonosis due to the tapeworm of the genus Echinococcus whose larva contaminates humans. However, this type of tapeworm is not particularly dangerous for dogs.

Other parasitic worms in dogs

There is a danger for humans with other parasitic worms of the dog Toxocara canis or Ascaris of the dog. However, this one is not a tapeworm. It is a nematode (round worm), whitish, which settles in the small intestine. It is responsible for human Toxocariasis.

Some worms may look like tapeworms to the untrained eye. They develop in the intestine of their host and lay their eggs there, just like tapeworms. The eggs are then passed in the feces and contaminate plants and the environment. They can be ingested by other animals and also by humans who are contaminated in turn.

The eggs of all types of intestinal worms that are not expelled turn into larvae and feed on the organs of their host, grow and become adult worms that will lay eggs. It's an endless chain.

So, whether you suspect the presence of a tapeworm or another parasitic worm of the digestive tract, you should go to the veterinarian without delay.

Tapeworms in dogs and ring of pregnancy: a sign that does not deceive

Even if the dog doesn't show any particular symptoms at the beginning, the owner who is attentive to his little companion can spot pregnant rings in the stools. Their presence is the formal proof that the dog is infested by tapeworm.

These rings are segments of the tapeworm's body. They detach as the parasite grows. Although detached from the worm, the segments are mobile during the first hours so that they can extract themselves from the dog's body by simply passing through the anus. After a few hours, these rings dry out and look more or less like opalescent rice grains.

The contamination occurs when the dog eats the viscera of contaminated animals. This is the case, for example, with dogs that roam freely and eat prey or with dogs that are fed waste from slaughterhouses. The dog can also be contaminated by eating raw meat. The risk is also very high if the dog swallows a louse or a flea, since these parasites can be infested with larvae.

Apart from the presence of gravid rings in the dog's feces, the recurring symptoms are itching in the anal area: the dog tries to relieve it by biting or licking this area. He also tries to rub his hindquarters on the floor. This is called sledding.

>Tapeworm in dogs: treatment and prevention

It is necessary to treat the dog contaminated by a tapeworm in order to protect its health but also the health of humans. It is sufficient to administer a deworming agent to the dog. This treatment quickly kills the tapeworm which is then expelled by natural way. But be careful, as we have seen there are different types of worms, some are not tapeworms. However, the owner of the animal may not know how to distinguish between one or the other. It is therefore very important to consult the veterinarian so that the dog receives a suitable deworming treatment. If the wrong dewormer is given, it may not be possible to eliminate the parasite.

The best way to prevent tapeworms is to feed your dog well-cooked meat and to control fleas and lice. A careful and regular inspection of the dog's coat is essential to detect fleas or their excrements. It is also a good idea to give your dog a flea collar, which can be recommended by your veterinarian. A periodic deworming as a preventive measure is also necessary.