Worms can inhabit a dog and greatly affect its digestion and health, depriving the dog of its nutrients. Like humans, one of these is the tapeworm, which is known to hang around in the dog’s small intestine. They are usually long, flat and white small worms, and look segmented. They also have hook-like mouths which they use to attach to the dog’s intestine. The most common type of tapeworm for dogs is called Dipylidium Caninum.
A dog gets a tapeworm through this process:
- Fleas accidentally eat tapeworm eggs
- Eggs hatch inside the flea, which are now called cysticercoids
- If a dog accidentally swallows the flea, it will be broken down and the cysticercoids will be released
- The cysticercoids become adult tapeworms and feed on its host’s nutrients
- Tail segments of the tapeworm drop off, each containing eggs
- The eggs exit the body through a dog’s defecate, and are eaten by fleas again
So generally, the main cause of a tapeworm entering the dog’s body is fleas. Tapeworm eggs may also be found in places where your dog usually hangs out, such as its bed or your carpeting. If your dog is allowed to run loose, there are many things it can find to eat outdoors that could also cause infection.
There are many symptoms for tapeworm in dogs. For instance, you may see rice grain-like specimen on your dog’s anus – these are the tapeworm’s dried sections, or they may be tapeworms themselves. Your dog may be irritable or agitated most of the time. It is best that you let your dog be examined by a local vet to see if it really has tapeworms.
Treatment for tapeworm in dogs is quite simple – you just have to eliminate the worms by having your dog take a special drug, much like how children with worms have them eliminated through anti-worm medicine. Your vet can provide you with a variety of anti-tapeworm medicine, which may include tablets, liquids, and/or injections. Just make sure while they are taking the medications, that they won’t have side effects on your dog.
Here are several common drugs your dog can take to get rid of tapeworms:
- Drontal Plus
- Vercom Paste
You might want to ask your vet which one they recommend. Be careful when choosing anti-tapeworm medicine, because some over-the-counter ones are not very effective in killing the tapeworms.
Prevention of tapeworms is also very easy – you just have to eliminate the source, which is the fleas. You can do this by doing vacuum cleaning on the house, especially the dog’s area. There are also many insecticide sprays specially made to kill fleas that are available in the market. You can also try easy methods of preventing fleas on your dogs, such as the liquid drops that go between their shoulders, tablets for killing fleas, and the like.
In the long run, prevention is always better than cure. Keeping your dog and its environment clean and free of pests (especially fleas) will most likely guard it from the dangers of parasites. After all, parasites are harmful, so we should get rid of them before they disrupt the health of our pets.