Tapeworms Average Cost

From 302 quotes ranging from $200 - 500

Average Cost


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What are Tapeworms?

There are various types of tapeworms that can infect cats. The most common is called Dipylidium caninum and is associated with fleas. The second most commonly seen tapeworm is called Taenia taeniaeformis and is linked to small mammals, birds and reptiles. Tapeworms can live up to two years if untreated, but often do not cause great harm to their host. These worms can grow up to 20 inches long, however, they are usually smaller. Tapeworm infestations are fairly common in cats, and veterinary treatment is very effective at eradicating them. 

Tapeworms are a type of intestinal parasite called a cestode. They take the shape of long, flat worms that resemble off-white ribbons. To infect a cat, they must be ingested. Tapeworms are unable to digest food, so to gain nutrients they attach themselves to the intestinal walls of other animals and absorb digested food through holes in their skin. The worms are made up of segments called proglottids that can break off and release eggs. These segments exit a cat with its feces and may be visible as small, rice-like worms.

Symptoms of Tapeworms in Cats

More often than not, an infected cat will not exhibit any notable symptoms other than the visible worm segments in its bowel movements. In extreme cases of infestation involving multiple worms, other symptoms may be seen. These include:

  • Weight loss
  • Diarrhea
  • Increased appetite
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Dull coat
  • Anemia
  • Weakness
  • Dragging, licking or biting at anus due to itchiness
  • White proglottids in stool
  • Worm or worms in vomit (rare)

Causes of Tapeworms in Cats

Tapeworms generally need to be ingested by at least two different insects or animals to complete their life cycle. The first is referred to as an intermediate host, and is the primary source of infection to other animals. Different types of tapeworms have different intermediate hosts.

Dipylidium caninum

These worms use fleas to progress to their next stage of life. An infected flea may bite a cat to feed, leaving tapeworm eggs in the bite wound. Once a cat licks or bites at the wound due to itch or as a part of general grooming, the tapeworm eggs may be ingested. As the eggs reach the intestines they hatch and attach to the walls using hook-shaped appendages.

Taenia taeniaeformis

The intermediate hosts of these tapeworms can be many small animals including mice, birds and rodents. As these are common prey of outdoor house cats, tapeworms may easily be spread to cats from these animals. The tapeworms create egg filled cysts on the intermediate host’s liver, which, once ingested, hatch inside the cat. 

Diagnosis of Tapeworms in Cats

Often, tapeworms are found by the owner of the cat while cleaning out the litter box. Once a cat has been brought in to a veterinary clinic, the vet will complete a physical examination including a close look at the cat’s anus, as proglottids are sometimes seen near the opening. If a cat is diagnosed with fleas, it is wise to assume that Dipylidium caninum tapeworms are also present.

Various fecal examinations will be needed to confirm the type of worms that have infested the cat. Examination of the eggs alone is often not accurate, as many worm eggs resemble each other. Approximately one teaspoon of fresh fecal material may need to be collected from your cat to perform a fecal flotation test. The excrement is then mixed with a substance that is heavier than the worms. After 20 minutes, all worm eggs will float to the surface of the mixture and can then be collected for microscopic analysis and identification. 

Treatment of Tapeworms in Cats

Treatment to rid your cat of tapeworms is readily available and very effective. Always consult your veterinarian before choosing a treatment, and seek prescription medications over pet store options. 

Deworming Medication 

Many medications have been manufactured for the purpose of ridding cats of tapeworms. These treatments come in the form of injections, tablets and skin drops. Certain medications may have side effects of vomiting and diarrhea. Commonly prescribed deworming medications include anthelmintic, praziquantel, febantel and fenbendazole.

Flea Medication 

If your cat has been confirmed as carrying Dipylidium caninum tapeworms, it may be necessary to also start a regular flea medication to eliminate the possibility of reinfection. Flea medications are often administered on a once a month basis. 

Recovery of Tapeworms in Cats

Eradication of tapeworms with deworming medication is very successful. Many owners choose to deworm their cat on a regular basis as a precautionary action. It may be necessary to keep your cat indoors to prevent it from hunting small animals that carry tapeworms. While cat to human transmission of tapeworms is rare, it can happen, especially with children. Teach any children in the home proper hygiene habits when handling the cat. 

If the cat is recovering from a flea infestation also, extra precautions may be necessary. Wash all of the cat’s toys and bedding in hot water. Clean the litter box daily and safely dispose of all feces. Disinfect the litter box on a regular basis. In extreme cases, the home or yard may need to be treated for fleas to prevent reinfection. With proper care, tapeworms can be permanently removed from your cat.

Tapeworms Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

2 Years
Fair condition
0 found helpful
Fair condition

Has Symptoms

Eggs near anus and stuck in fur

I just noticed the grain like things near my cats anus. We are unable to get him into the vet until Tuesday or Wednesday of next week. We have two other cats that show no symptoms. We clean the litter box everyday, but I’m going to assume the chances of them having a tapeworm is very high. All of the cats sleep on our couch and in our bed. I’m very nervous not only about their health but about the health of my husband & I. Some websites say that it’s very rare for us to contract a tapeworm through them while others say it’s possible. I’m just wondering how worried my husband and I need to be about our own health during this time

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
898 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. Common tapeworms in cats are spread by tapeworms, and are not commonly spread to humans. If your cats are not on flea prevention, it would be best to have your veterinarian start that. You may want to treat all of your cats for tapeworms, but your veterinarian will be able to advise you better on that on Tuesday.

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4 Years
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Weight Loss

Medication Used


My cat has worms & she has been on medication for 4 days now. Im wondering what shouldIdoabout her liter ? Should I change it ? Or wait until she is done with her meds ? Does the worms die after she poops them out ?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2341 Recommendations
Whilst it seems you may be using HomeoPet WRM Clear, I cannot guarantee the efficacy of this product; however the website of this product indicates that it doesn’t kill worms and it can take two weeks for the product to reach maximum efficacy and that you may continue to see worms for up to four weeks after the last dose. Given the information provided by the website I would recommend clearing out the litter tray daily; however I would recommend using a more effective anthelmintic like Drontal (praziquantel/pyrantel pamoate) which is effective against hookworms, roundworms and tapeworms. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM www.bayerdvm.com/products/drontal-tablets/ Below is some information verbatim (copy and paste) from the HomeoPet website (www.homeopet.com/wrm-clear) at the time of posting this answer: - HomeoPet WRM Clear does not kill the worms; it gently creates and environment in the body that the worms can no longer live in, thereby flushing them harmlessly from the body. - It takes 2 weeks for the product to reach its maximum potential in the body. During this time you may see live worms in the stool. Seeing live worms is a good indication that the product is working. You may continue to see worms coming out for up to 4 weeks after the last dose, and this is because it takes that long for worm eggs to hatch. The effect of the product remains active in the body for up to 2 months after the last dose, thus inhibiting re-infestation within that time period in spite of contact with worms.

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American Shorthair
1 Year
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

I had my cat’s feces tested for tapeworms about a month ago. They gave me 3 pills, 1.5 for then, and the rest for a month later. Gave second dose on 11/25 but I’m still seeing rice like segments in the fur around his butt. They’re not moving this time, appear to be dead. Is this normal for deworming, or will he need another dose of medication?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2341 Recommendations
You should give Salem monthly anthelmintics to prevent against parasites, many people forget or think it is not important or ‘my cat is an inside cat’ but month treatment is best regardless of efficacy. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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