Tapeworms in Dogs and Cats


Dipylidium caninum is the most common tapeworm infestation in  urban dogs and cats who have restricted access to natural prey. Cats can acquire Taenia taeniaeformis from infected indoor or outdoor mice and rats. Dogs who have access to natural prey may acquire other kinds of tapeworms such E granulosus, E multilocularis, T multiceps, T serialis, or T crassiceps. Also, human beings can be infection with these kinds of tapeworm in their tissue by ingestion of eggs passed in dog feces, or in the intestine by ingestion of infected fleas with Dipylidium caninum.

Tapeworm Life cycle

Dogs and cats acquire tapeworm infection by ingesting infected fleas during grooming themselves or when a feline grooms another housemate. Additionally, there are other ways of infection, such as ingesting infected rodents, rabbits, or birds. Tapeworm eggs settle into the small intestine of the dog or cat. There, they develop into adults with lots of small segments, each about the size of a grain of rice, called proglottids. Subsequently, these segments, which contain tapeworm eggs, break off and pass in the dog’s stool. The cycle begins again when an intermediate host, such as flea larvae, rats, mice, or rabbits, ingest tapeworm eggs and segments. Adult tapeworms usually measure anywhere from 15 to 70 cm in length.

Tapeworm clinical symptoms

signs can vary depending on the degree of infection and the age of the pet. Clinical manifestations range from capricious appetite, perianal irritation, unthriftiness, and a shaggy coat to colic and mild diarrhea. Rarely, more severe symptoms such as intestinal blockage, emaciation, and seizures may occur. Occasionally, infected dogs and cats may vomit or defecate tapeworm segments in the stool resembling rice grains. Qualified veterinarian could diagnosis Tapeworms through examining a stool sample. It may be necessary to examine two to three fecal samples to reduce the chances of false negative results. If you notice one or more of these symptoms, it’s essential to contact your veterinarian promptly, even if your pet is dewormed. If your pet does not have a regular vet, you can reach out to our veterinary clinic in the Newmarket Aurora area at 905-898-1010. Sometimes routine deworming may not include medication effective against tapeworms