The Cause of Tapeworm in Dogs Must Be Found to Prevent Further Infestation
Tapeworms are long, flat worms with a head, neck, and segmented body. As segments fill with tapeworm eggs, they break off from the main body. These warm segments make their way out of the dog’s body through bowel movements or by crawling out of the dog’s anus. These segments are deposited wherever the dog sleeps or lays such as dog bedding and carpet as well as in the home and yard. Eggs are released as the egg-filled segments dry up. Fleas feeding in the same area ingest the dog’s waste and these eggs as nourishment. The eggs grow into an early stage parasite inside the flea. Infected fleas that get into a dog’s skin and fur are swallowed by the dog as he or she bites and chews at the irritating fleas. The dog’s digestive system breaks down and digests these fleas, but the young parasite survives and attaches itself inside the dog’s small intestines where it feeds and grows into an adult tapeworm.
The most common type of tapeworm in dogs is dipylidium caninum. These eggs are ingested by fleas and lice.. The warm, live segments resemble rice grains or small white worms. They can grow as long as 20”.
There are five types of taenia species that infect dogs. These eggs are ingested by rodents such as mice, rats, and squirrels and larger animals such as deer and sheep. Dogs get these tapeworms by eating these host animals. These tapeworms can grow up to six feet long.
Echinococcus granulosus and E. multiocularis eggs are also eaten by rodents, deer, and sheep. This tapeworm can be approximately a quarter inch long and live as long as two years.
Diphyllobothrium latum is also called broadfish tapeworm. These eggs are found in crustaceans and minnows which are eaten by larger fish. Tapeworm in dogs occurs when dogs eat these host animals. These tapeworms can grow up to 33 feet long. Spirometra mansonoides is similar to diphyllobothrium latum tapeworms and can reach 9.5” in length.
Extreme cases of tapeworm in dogs can result in weight loss and stomach upset if the tapeworm travels to the dog’s stomach. This will also cause the dog to vomit and expel the worm making it very visible to the human eye. Dogs scooting their rear end across the floor are often thought to have tapeworm and should be checked by the veterinarian. Unless the main cause of tapeworm in dogs is found and addressed, dogs will continually infect themselves and other dogs even if the proper medication is administered. There is also a chance of infecting humans with the same tapeworm.