Tapeworms are intestinal parasites that mostly affect humans, cats, and dogs. They use their hook-like mouthparts to hold on to the dog’s intestine wall and feed the food that the dog is digesting. If you think your dog has a tapeworm, it may help to understand what they look like.
Although tapeworms don’t usually cause life-threatening health problems in adult dogs, they can cause vomiting, itchy bottom, and weight loss. But as with any other illness, the sooner you treat your dog, the better. In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about tapeworms in dogs.
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What Are Tapeworms?
Tapeworms are flat segment intestinal worms that live in humans’ intestines and some animals like dogs and cats. They are known as tapeworms due to their flat, segmented body that resembles a tape’s length. Dogs usually get these parasites when they ingest food or water contaminated with tapeworm eggs or larvae. Once they are inside the dog’s intestines, they usually hold on to the intestine and feed on ingested food until they mature.
How Do Dogs Get Tapeworms?
Dogs cannot get tapeworms by ingesting fertilized tapeworm eggs from food, as is the case with other forms of intestinal parasites. Instead, they can only attack the dog if they pass through a transitional host, mostly a flea.
When a tapeworm release eggs, they must first be ingested by a flea larva (an immature stage of a flea). Once the egg is inside the larval flea, it will continue to develop as the flea matures into adulthood. The dog may unconsciously ingest the infected tapeworm flea during the normal grooming process or when the dog responds to an itchy flea bite. The flea releases the tapeworm egg, which later hatches and holds itself to the intestinal lining where it grows to adulthood.
How To Tell If Your Dog Has Tapeworms?
Various signs may show that your dog has tapeworms. One of the signs that indicate that your dog has tapeworms is if you notice worm segments in your dog’s feces or around your dog’s bottom or bedding. The worm segments usually resemble pieces of moving rice.
Another sign that indicates that your dog has tapeworms is a drastic loss of weight within a short period despite eating normally. The drastic loss of weight may be that tapeworms in the intestines feed on the critical nutrients that the dog needs to grow healthy.
Frequent vomiting is another sign that indicated that your dog has tapeworms. Sometimes the vomit may contain sections of the worms and, in some cases, the entire worm.
Other signs that indicate the presence of warms in your dog include diarrhea, a dull coat, and a distended abdomen.
Preventing and Treating Tapeworms
Tapeworm can cause symptoms that may make your dog’s life miserable. Fortunately, treating and preventing tapeworm is simple. That are many deworming medications that may get rid of tapeworm. When the drug is ingested, it swallows the parasite then is removed via stool.
But prevention is always better than cure. There are various things you can do to keep your dog from tapeworms. The most recommended technique for keeping your dog safe is by using oral medication or a collar. It is also advised that you don’t let your dog roam unsupervised in the neighborhood.
Can I Get Tapeworms From My Dog?
Yes, tapeworms can be transmitted to humans, but the risk is relatively low. To get infected, you have to swallow an infected flea or ingest dogs poop carrying tapeworm eggs. Children are most vulnerable since they are more likely to consume things that are contaminated with dog waste.