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Tapeworms in Dog's Stool

Tapeworms in Dog's Stool

The presence of tapeworms in your dog's stool is a sign of worm infestation, which can cause several health problems in dogs. Know more about the causes, as well as the symptoms of tapeworms in dogs, through this DogAppy write-up.
Chandramita Bora
Worm infestations can be a common problem in pets, especially in dogs. There can be several types of worms, like roundworms, tapeworms, hookworms, and heartworms that can infest your dog. A tapeworm infestation can be easily identified, as the segments of worms can be seen in dog's stool.

There are several types of tapeworms, of which the tapeworm Dipylidium caninum is more commonly found in dogs. If you observe long worms in your pet's stool, then it can be roundworm or Toxocara canis. Tapeworms passed in stool look like small grains of rice. Hookworms on the other hand, are not visible to the naked eyes.

Tapeworms in Dogs

Dogs usually get tapeworms by ingesting fleas or lice that contain the worm eggs. The eggs are generally passed in the stool of the infected animal, which are then consumed by the fleas or lice. The worm eggs then develop into cysticercoids. A cysticercoid is the intermediate or larval stage of some tapeworms. When a healthy dog eats such fleas or lice, cysticercoids enter its body and remain attached to the intestinal wall.

Eventually, the worms attain maturity, and develop a long tail. The tail of a tapeworm consists of several segments, each having its own independent digestive and reproductive system. As the segments grow old, they are replaced by new segments. Such old segments with sacs of eggs can come out of the body through the rectum or the anus along with stool. The eggs released from these sacs are then consumed by the fleas or lice. Dogs generally swallow such fleas while licking the site of flea bites.

When the population of tapeworms is kept under control by a healthy immune system, they do not cause any major health problem. However, if they proliferate rapidly, they can cause several health problems in dogs. The most common symptoms of a tapeworm infestation are, vomiting, loss of weight, and pain in the abdomen. Itching and restlessness can be some other symptoms. If you observe carefully, you can see some small white, rice-like grains in the stool or poop of the animal. These are nothing but the dried segments of the worms.

Diagnosis and Treatment
This condition is not so difficult to diagnose, as the detached segments of the tapeworms can be easily seen in the feces of the animal. This condition is treated with some specific drugs that can dissolve the worms inside the intestine. These drugs are very effective in treating tapeworm infestations in dogs, and they are available as oral medications and injections. The regular over-the-counter deworming medications are not very effective in treating this condition.

It is important to keep your dogs away from a flea-infested environment to prevent tapeworm infestations in the future. Controlling fleas is the best precautionary measure for protecting your dogs from worms. Therefore, keep your house and its surrounding clean and free of fleas and lice. Dispose the stool of the animal properly, as dogs, especially the puppies have a habit of licking their feces. So, keep them away from feces. Equally important is to observe the feces of your pet from time to time, in order to detect the presence of tapeworms.

Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of a veterinarian.