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Understanding Tapeworm Infestations in Pets

 by james on 11 May 2023 |
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Tapeworms are a common intestinal parasite found in dogs and cats. They are long, flat worms that live in the intestines of their hosts and can grow up to several feet in length. The most common type of tapeworm found in pets is the Dipylidium caninum, which is transmitted through fleas. When a pet ingests a flea, they also ingest the tapeworm egg that the flea is carrying. Once inside the pet's intestines, the egg hatches and grows into an adult tapeworm.

Symptoms of tapeworm infestation in pets can vary, but some common signs include scooting or dragging their bottom on the ground, vomiting, diarrhea, and weight loss. In severe cases, pets may have a visibly distended abdomen or appear lethargic. However, many pets may not show any symptoms at all. It's important to note that tapeworm segments, which can look like grains of rice, may be visible in the pet's feces or around their anus.

Preventing tapeworm infestations in pets involves regular flea control. Fleas are the main source of tapeworm infections, so keeping pets flea-free is crucial. Using monthly flea preventatives, such as topical or oral medications, can help prevent flea infestations. It's also important to practice good hygiene, such as washing hands after handling pets and cleaning up pet feces promptly. Regular deworming is also recommended, especially for pets that live in areas with high flea populations.

If a pet is diagnosed with tapeworms, treatment usually involves a deworming medication that is given orally. In some cases, multiple doses may be necessary to completely eliminate the tapeworms. It's also important to treat any underlying flea infestations to prevent re-infection. After treatment, it's important to monitor the pet for any signs of tapeworms, and continue with regular flea control and deworming as recommended by the veterinarian.

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