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Tapeworms In Dogs, Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

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Have you heard about Tapeworm in Dogs? Do you know what was tapeworm and how it affects the dog? If your dog has affected from tapeworm then you should take some precautions to save him. Know the complete details of Tapeworms in Dogs along with Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment.

There are many tapeworms that can affect our dogs. It is a parasite of the cestodes group (flat or true worms), very important in the health of both candids and humans. Since some species can cause zoonoses, such as the famous hydatid cyst.

Tapeworm in Dogs
Tapeworm in Dogs

However, this article will focus on knowing the tapeworm that we usually find in the reviews of our Dog, Dipylidium caninum. Keep reading and discover the symptoms of tapeworm in dogs and their treatment.

Biological Cycle of Tapeworm

This tape-like tapeworm inhabits the small intestine of dogs and cats, but like all parasites in this group. They need an intermediate host to complete their cycle.

Tapeworm life cycle chart

An intermediate host is another individual different from the definitive host. Which in this case will be the dog, where the parasite carries out some transformation or continues its development. In order for the definitive host to suffer the infestation by the tapeworm. It must ingest the intermediate host, which will carry inside the infective form of the tapeworm.

Who is the intermediate host of the tapeworm Dipylidium caninum?

Well, general, the flea. It is curious that an external parasite in turn internally carries an internal parasite. That will end its cycle when the flea is ingested by the dog while it licks or by nibbling the base of the tail doing what we commonly know as “donut”.

Not all fleas harbor a cysticercus inside, which is the infective form of the tapeworm. But many become intermediate hosts by ingesting the embryos of this parasite in the environment. Within the flea, a series of transformations take place until the phase of “cysticercus” is reached. Which, after the dog ingests the flea, will be released in the digestive tract and begin its evolution towards an adult individual of tapeworm.

The time that passes from the ingestion of an infected flea until we have an adult tapeworm in the small intestine of the dog is about 15-21 days.

Symptoms of Tapeworm Infestation in Dogs

Suffering parasitism by tapeworms is usually asymptomatic. That is, we do not usually know that our dog suffers from it as in other cases due to alterations such as loss of appetite or diarrhea. In case of severe parasites, our dog can appear with rough fur, a bad body condition (thin), diarrhea, swollen abdomen… but this usually happens in dogs that suffer the action of numerous parasites at the same time.

In the case of being a domestic and careful dog. The only clue that can help us to know if the dog has a tapeworm or several in its small intestine is usually the presence of gravid proglottis in the feces.

What is a gravid proglottis?

It is a mobile egg sac that tapeworm eliminates to the outside with the feces. They move but they are not worms nor is it just a living being. It is only a “package” that contains the laying of the adult tapeworm. It looks like a grain of rice that stretches and shrinks. By spending time outside the stool or stuck to the hair around the dog’s anus, they dehydrate and take on the appearance of sesame seeds. Similar to the grains found in hamburger buns.

dog bloody stool

We can find them in the dog’s bed, in the hair of the tail, or around the anus, if we do not detect them directly in the feces because we do not see where the animal defecates. If they are dry and we add a drop of water as an anecdote, we can see them again acquiring their appearance of white rice grain. Although it is advisable to get rid of everything as soon as possible by a meticulous cleaning and vacuuming.

Traditionally it was said that infestation by this type of tapeworm is usually seen after 6 months of age. The reason is that the dog does not acquire until then the habit of nibbling, in theory. However, it is increasingly common to find dogs of 3 months with tapeworms for having ingested an infected flea from its mother in breastfeeding or in the licking as part of social behavior with other dogs.

Diagnosis of Tapeworm in Dogs

To see directly the tapeworm proglottis in feces, to find them fresh or dry around the anus or in the hair and bed is usually enough to diagnose the parasitism by the tapeworm Dipylidium caninum in our dog. If this happens, do not hesitate and go to the veterinarian as soon as possible. So that it is he who stipulates the treatment to follow.

Treatment of Tapeworm in Dogs

It is simple and effective. Although like all parasites, it is not ruled out that over time they develop a certain resistance to conventional antiparasitics. The praziquantel is the drug of choice because of its low price. It’s highly effective against tapeworms and safety. A single dose may not be sufficient, sometimes it is advisable to repeat the treatment against tapeworm in dogs after 3 weeks.

Treatment Of Tapeworm In Dogs

However, we find in many products associated with milbemycin oxime and other antiparasitics (pyrantel, fenbendazole). Which cover almost all the rest of our dog’s parasites (Toxocara, Trichuris …). Which can be interesting to administer the praziquantel together with some of them regularly in a single tablet. Every three months if the dog has a life with access to green areas, parks, meetings with more dogs, beach sand or play centers.

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But there is something fundamental to control this tapeworm …

If we do not treat the dog against fleas on a regular basis with quality products. We will achieve nothing more than a temporary truce. If the dog ingests another infected flea after three weeks we will have the tapeworm inside again because the praziquantel does not have a very high residual activity. That is it does not remain indefinitely in the body of the animal, killing and it had to be able to develop again.

So the key point of the tapeworm treatment in dogs is to eliminate the fleas by using one of the following products:

  • Pills antipulgas (afoxolaner, fluranaler, spinosad).
  • Pipettes based on selamectin or imidacloprid + permethrin.
  • Collars based on imidacloprid and flumethrin, or deltamethrin, and also control the environment where the dog lives.

For example, If the fleas nest in the environment in a shed where we accumulate firewood. We will have a new generation every so often waiting for the moment when our dog ceases to be effective the collar. The pipette or the pills and we have not agreed. Therefore, it may be necessary to fumigate the environment based on flea pumps or spraying every so often with permethrin.

Does it Affect Humans?

We could be your accidental host if we ingest the flea infected with the cysticercus by mistake. However, in an adult dog, it is difficult for that to happen. But if we have a baby at home and live with a dog it is vitally important to control the fleas.

There must be a bizarre situation for a child to swallow a flea, but it is always better to prevent. Especially at very early ages where everything comes to the mouth and licking your dog seems like a fun idea. So keep an eye on your children and the dog.


Hence, you have got the complete information on Tapeworm in Dogs, Tapeworm causes in dogs, symptoms, and treatment to cure faster in dogs. We hope you like this article and willing to share the article with friends & families at social networking sites. Feel free to ask your questions in the comment box below. We are here to help you. Stay tuned to Dogsfud for more informative articles on Dogs.

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