Tapeworms in Dogs – A Detailed Outlay from History to Treatment
Among thousands and millions of parasites all round us, we find that some are useful, some are harmful, some infect animals only, some infect humans only and there are a few of them that infect both humans and animals. There are external as well as internal parasites that affect the health and sometimes are dreadful. From the world of these different worms, some of the harmful intestinal worms play havoc on our pet’s health. Compared to humans, pets are more vulnerable as they cannot fight these diseases without our help.
Among the various intestinal worms such as whipworms, roundworms, etc., tapeworms are the most common occurring worms and are dangerous if not treated quickly. Let us find out about tapeworm all in detail and treatment methods to protect our pets from its deadly effects.
History of Tapeworms
Scientifically known as Cestodes, tapeworms are a type of parasitic flatworms. Among the thousand species, all vertebrate species may have at least one species of tapeworm. These worms have a long history. Archeologists have discovered a cluster of cestode eggs, one with developing larva in fossil feces of a shark dating to mid-to late Permian, some 270 mya.
These intestinal worms are flat and made of many small segments. With each section ¼ to ½ inch long, tapeworms attach to the wall of small intestines and suck blood.
Cestodiasis is the medical term for tapeworm infestation, which most commonly occurs in dogs and cats. Although tapeworms cause few symptoms and are easily treated, they can be life-threatening when not taken seriously. Therefore, pet owners need to be careful and recognize the signs of tapeworms and should treat and protect their dogs from this infestation.
Causes of Tapeworms
Tapeworms in dogs are generally caused due to numerous reasons. They easily infect dogs as they always move around sniffing the ground. During grooming or flea biting, a dog can ingest infected flea causing infection. This disease is also transmitted if your dog is exposed to a contaminated ground or ingests feces of an infected dog.
Sometimes, puppies are also born with tapeworms as they get them from mother’s intestines.
Symptoms of Tapeworms
Although tapeworm infection rarely causes symptoms, dogs usually show certain signs like
- Dull coat
- Weight loss
- Bloody stool
- Hunger or loss of appetite
- Deficiencies of vitamins and minerals
- Abdominal pain
- Observing the above symptoms in your dog helps you recognize that your pet may be suffering from tapeworm infestation.
- Noticing white or cream like segments in the feces or crawling around the anus also indicates the presence of tapeworms. They often look like rice grains.
- To be more precise about this intestinal infection, get a clinical diagnosis of your dog’s feces. Testing under the microscope, your vet can confirm about infection.
Treatments for Tapeworms
With advancement in medical science, it is easier to treat a tapeworm infection. There are medications available in both oral and topical forms that help to fight and prevent this infestation.
Treating your dog periodically with dewormer helps them to stay healthy.
As the proverb goes – ‘Prevention is Better than Cure’, it is beneficial for pet owners to always take precautionary measures to help their dog‘s proper well-being.
It is always good to administer them with preventive medication for worms. Dispose dog’s feces properly and keep the surroundings and house free from fleas and ticks.
What Vet Says?
Normally, veterinarians advise deworming your pets regularly to protect your pet from tapeworm as well as other types of dog worms. This protects your dog from infection and prevents them from future re-infestation.
As pet owners, we should always be concerned about pets’ well-being and take measures to keep them in good health.