Help, My Dog & Cat Have Worms That Look Like Rice In Their Stool! Your Carmel Veterinarian Explains Tapeworms

Help My Dog & Cat Have Worms That Look Like Rice In Their Stool!  Your Carmel Veterinarian Explains Tapeworms in Pets

What are tapeworms?  Tapeworms are intestinal worm parasites that attach to the inside of the intestinal tract and steal nutrition from the host.  The most common tapeworm in dogs and cats is called Dipylidium canium.  These segmented worms grow around 8 inches long.

How did my dog and cat get tapeworms?  As a Carmel veterinarian, the most common way I see pets become infected with tapeworm parasites is for them to eat a flea.  When your dog and cat gets bitten by the flea, they feel it just like we feel a mosquito bite.  But instead of swatting at a flea, they bite at it and often swallow the flea.  Many fleas are the intermediate host for the tapeworms and carry the tapeworm eggs inside of them.  There are a couple of other types of tapeworms that pets can get if they eat small prey like mice, rabbits, etc…

How do I prevent tapeworm infections in my pets?  The best way to prevent tapeworms in your dog and cat is to make sure they are all on a veterinarian approved flea medication once a month all year round and not allow them to eat live or dead animals.

Are tapeworms dangerous to my dog and cat?  As a Carmel veterinarian, I rarely see any horrible side effects from tapeworm infection in pets.  Dogs with tapeworms will often scoot their anus on the ground, although there are several causes for this behavior.  Tapeworm infection is much more serious in young puppies and kittens as lack of growth, anemia, and intestinal blockage and death can occur.

How are tapeworms diagnosed in dogs and cats?  Since tapeworms shed their eggs infrequently, tapeworms can be missed during routine fecal intestinal parasite screening by your Carmel veterinarian.  The good news is, however, that tapeworms can be seen with the naked eye.  Tapeworms in pets are diagnosed by seeing ~1/8 inch individual segments either in a fresh stool sample or in the hair around the anus.  They often look like a little moving white caterpillar that dries up and looks like a piece of brown rice.  If you find any tapeworm segments, bring them to your Carmel veterinarian for definitive diagnosis.

How do you treat tapeworms in dogs and cats?  Tapeworm treatment is very simple, safe, and inexpensive.  Just bring your pet to your local Carmel veterinarian for tapeworm treatment.

Can people get tapeworms from their pets?  NO.  Unless you eat a flea, you should NOT get a tapeworm as well.  Humans usually get tapeworms from eating uncooked meat.

Tapeworm parasites in dogs and cats are disgusting.  If you suspect tapeworms in your pet, call your Carmel veterinarian for help.  For more information on our Caring Hands Compassionate Hearts, click on this link to your Carmel Veterinarian.  

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