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How to Get Rid of Tapeworms in Dogs
What is a Tapeworm?
The most common tapeworm, also known as Dipylidium caninum, is a small parasite that is carried by fleas and lice that have ingested a tapeworm egg. If the dog ingests the flea or louse by swallowing or biting it, and if it is infected with a tapeworm egg, it will travel down into the dogs small intestines.
Tapeworms are very common in adult dogs and puppies, but can be treated easily with help from your veterinarian.
Getting Rid of Tapeworms in Dogs
To get rid of tapeworms, the head of the tapeworm must be destroyed otherwise it will keep growing. In order to do this you must have a prescription medication from a veterinarian. An over the counter de-wormer will not necessarily work for all tapeworms. It is always best to check with your animal care provider first.
For the dog to be totally rid of the tapeworms and all eggs it will normally take ten to fourteen days.
What does a Tapeworm Look Like
Tapeworms are whitish in color and can grow anywhere between 4 inches to 28 inches in length. They are flat and segmented. Each segment contains eggs.
Symptoms That a Dog May Have Tapeworms
- The dog may be experiencing anal itching.
- Excessive licking or scratching in the rectal area.
- A dog dragging its behind along the ground or on the carpet may be a sign of worms.
- Change in the dogs eating habits.
- The dog is vomiting.
- In some cases the dog may be experiencing stomach pain.
- Not as active as they usually are.
To visually see the tapeworms or signs of tapeworms.
The eggs from the tapeworms can be found in the dogs stool. They will be about one quarter of an inch long and they move about. These eggs can or may be found in the dogs fur in the anus area. If the eggs are dead and dried out they will look very similar to a piece of rice. Eggs or pieces of the tapeworm may also be found in the dogs bedding or on carpets.
What to do if You Think Your Dog Has Tapeworms
To determine what type of worm your dog may have you need to take a sample of the dogs stool to the veterinarian to have it analysed under a microscope. Never use an over the counter de-wormer without first talking to your vet.
If your dog does in fact have tapeworms it is very important to get them treated as soon as possible.Tapeworms can and will grow quite quickly. If left untreated they can cause intestinal infection, diarrhea, weight loss and or blood in the stool.
The vet will either give your dog an injection or a medication in pill form to treat the tapeworms.
Preventing Tapeworms From Returning
There is no way to make sure that tapeworms never return but there are some precautions that you can take.
- Make sure that your animal and house is free of fleas.
- In your yard and outside areas there are various ways to keep the flea population to a minimum. You can purchase products from garden centers, Home Depot or Lowe's, but be sure to read the packaging to make sure that it is safe for your pets.
- Planting mint plants has been known to deter fleas.
- Fecal matter in your yard should always be picked up.
The Life cycle of a Tapeworm
Over the counter medications for tapeworms
Once your dog has had tapeworms and you know what you're dealing with as far as what they look like, and feel comfortable treating them yourself, there are over the counter medications that you are available. Be certain that the medication you choose is for tapeworms. Consulting your veterinarian before administering it to the dog is always the safe way to go.
D-Worm, Droncit and WormXPlus are three of the products you can purchase without a medical prescription.
Make sure that your dog and its living quarters are free of all fleas to stop the tapeworms from reoccurring.
© 2012 Susan Zutautas