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Tapeworms In Dogs – Symptoms, Treatment, & Prevention

Tapeworms In Dogs

What Is Tapeworms In Dogs?

Tapeworms are zoonotic, parasitic, symbiotrophic, hermaphroditic, platyhelminths worms that infect domestic dogs and cats. Dipylidium caninum (double-pored tapeworm or flea tapeworm) is a widespread GI cestode of household dogs that ingest the parasite’s intermediate host - fleas infected with the parasite cysticercoid larvae.

The adult tapeworm scolex is equipped with 7 rows of hooklets and has four suckers. The pink-colored 15-cm to 50-cm chain of tapeworm (strobila), double-pored, barrel-shaped segments has 150 proglottids. The cysticercoid larva evaginates to form a scolex after gaining access to the mammalian intestine, where it attaches to the mucosa of the small intestine. The matured worm forms a strobila or string of proglottids that tails the scolex.

The highly motile, Gravid proglottids, which appear like cucumber seeds/ white rice grains, have two genital pores. They are passed with feces and can be noticed in the stool. They can be wrongly considered maggots; they later split up in the soil to discharge small packets, each of which contains 5 to 15 eggs. When the eggs are ingested by larval stage fleas, the eggs develop into cysticercoid larvae. The completion of its life cycle is attained when a dog or any other mammal consumes an infected flea during its grooming activities.

The passage of proglottids in stool is the most common symptom. Vague abdominal pain, diarrhea, and/or oral pruritus, are sometimes associated with dipylidiasis, and this is every so often mistaken as pinworm (E. vermicularis). Dogs (mostly outdoor, herding, and working dogs) contract the pathogen when they come in contact with infected fleas.

Symptoms Of Tapeworms In Dogs

Early stage:

  • Fever
  • Labored breathing
  • Itching around the anus
  • Licking of the perianal and anal areas
  • Butt scooting

Advanced stage:

Treatment Options For Tapeworms In Dogs

Intestinal parasitic medications: Fenbendazole(Panacur, Safe-Guard), praziquantel (Droncit), nitroscanate (Lopatol) and epsiprantel (cestex).

  • A sulfa-type antibiotic called sulfadimethoxine-( ALBON)- 55 mg/kg is, Antibiotic used for respiratory, and genitourinary infections.
  • Ponazuril is used for protozoal parasites in recent times.
  • When your dog has frequent bouts of diarrhea in a short time period, Metronidazole(Flagyl, Protostat, Metizol, Metrogel) is used for diarrhea.
  • Pet safe Disinfectants: such as Baking Soda/ Hydrogen Peroxide/ chlorine bleach- diluted to treat the surfaces and premises safely.

Home Remedies For Tapeworms In Dogs

Tapeworm infections are never going to go away on their own. While tapeworms are treatable, however, keep in mind that the best way to protect your pets against parasites is to use parasite preventatives.

How To Prevent Tapeworms In Dogs?

  • Avoid contamination of backyard with livestock feed, bird droppings or canine feces.
  • When going for walks, keep your dog away from wooded, sandy areas and flea-infested areas.
  • Keep your lawn or garden clean. maintain it neat and free of fleas to evade unwanted complications.

Affected Dog Breeds Of Tapeworms

Causes And Prognosis For Tapeworms In Dogs

1. Causes:

Tapeworms’ eggs remain inactive in the environment (soil) for several months. Eggs can also get trapped in the fur of infected animals.

Dogs consuming fertilized eggs are not infected directly; the eggs have to go through the cycle in the intermediate host and when the dog eats the intermediate host (fleas), it gets affected.

2. Morbidity:

  1. Outdoor dogs living in endemic regions are at higher risk
  2. Hound breeds, hunting, and herding dogs living in close proximity to cattle overturned soil (i.e., farms, agricultural sites) or water bodies seem to be predisposed to this infection
  3. Direct transmission between dogs and humans does not occur

3. Mortality:

Tapeworms usually don’t cause a destructive disease. However, when intestinal blockages happen in puppies, it is usually fatal.

4. Diagnosis:

5. Prognosis:

The prognosis for flea tapeworms is really good. Most dogs undergoing treatment will get well within a month.

When To See A Vet For Tapeworms In Dogs?

It’s better to set up an appointment with your veterinarian if you notice-

  • Itching around the anus
  • Licking of the perianal and anal areas
  • Butt scooting

Food Suggestions For Tapeworms In Dogs

  • Iron: Beef liver, lean meats, raw egg yolk, canned sardines, salmon, pumpkin, and green vegetables
  • Bioflavonoids and vitamin C: Broccoli, Brussel sprouts, spinach, kale, papaya, strawberries, and pineapple
  • Chicken soup bone broth (or use lamb/beef bones)
  • Yeast (such as nutritional yeast), Mutton Liver, green vegetables (cauliflower, cabbage, cantaloupe, Brussel sprouts, spinach, Kale, and silver beets)
  • Vitamin B-12: Organ meat, Grass-Fed Meat, beef liver


Canine Tapeworms are usually non-infectious to humans but they are not directly transmitted to humans. But, Tapeworms pose a significant risk to humans as they need an intermediary host, like a flea, or direct contact with contaminated soil or feces from infected animals. Practicing good personal hygiene always is the best preventive action to avoid tape worm infection.

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