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What are Tapeworms?

As the tapeworm matures, it breaks off in small segments. Depending on the type, the full size of a tapeworm can be very large but what you will normally see in the feces of your pet are the smaller broken off sections, which will look similar to grains of rice. Belonging to the cestode family of intestinal worms, the most common type found in canines throughout North America is the Dipylidium Caninum, otherwise known as the flea tapeworm.

Tapeworms are intestinal worms with a flattened shape. Very common in dogs, this parasite lives in the intestine of it’s host. Tapeworms are made of many small segments and attach themselves to the intestinal wall with hook-like mouthparts. While a tapeworm infection is not seriously harmful, your dog can become unwell, and puppies who become infected can suffer from anemia, slow growth, and sometimes intestinal blockage.

Tapeworms Average Cost

From 367 quotes ranging from $250 - $500

Average Cost

$300

Symptoms of Tapeworms in Dogs

Dogs can very possibly carry the tapeworm and not show obvious symptoms. The severity of symptoms can depend upon the age of your dog, his present state of health, and the intensity of the infection. You should bring your furry family member to the veterinary clinic if you see any of the following signs.

  • You may see your dog scooting his hind end along the floor due to the itch
  • You might see your pet constantly licking or biting the anal area
  • An entire tapeworm may pass in the feces and be obviously seen
  • Dried yellowish segments of the tapeworm may be noticed in the feces or around the tail; live segments may be seen moving around in the same area
  • Your pet may vomit up an entire tapeworm
  • Your dog may experience bouts of gas
  • Your pet could show signs of malaise and irritability
  • The fur on your pet could become dull
  • Your dog could be restless

If there is a heavy infestation, or multiple types of worms are present, your dog can become very ill, suffering from diarrhea, weight loss, and abdominal pain.

Types

There are several types of tapeworm that can affect dogs.

  • Dipylidium caninum
    • This is the most common tapeworm in dogs
    • Dogs become infected when grooming
    • The tapeworm eggs within the broken segments passed in the feces are eaten by a flea, and then flea is then ingested by the dog
  • Taenia hydatigena/Taenia multiceps
    • These appear in the intestines of the canine, fox, and coyote
    • The larval stage attaches to the brain, organs or spinal cord of pigs, sheep, and goats
    • If the dog eats infected livestock, he becomes infected
    • Can cause serious problems to humans, who may catch it from unwashed hands that have touched feces or from the consuming of unwashed vegetables that may have been contaminated by dog feces
  • Taenia Pisiformis/Taenia serialis
    • Dogs receive the tapeworm when they hunt and eat infected rabbits and rodents
  • Echinococcus
    • Dogs will get the tapeworm infection if they consume wildlife or livestock scraps like elk, sheep, or cattle
  • Diphyllobothrium
    • This type of tapeworm is contracted from consuming wildlife scraps and from eating undercooked or raw fish
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Causes of Tapeworms in Dogs

Tapeworms rely on an intermediate host in order to survive.

  • The larval stage develops in the flea, rabbit or mouse for example, which serve as the intermediate host
  • Canines cannot be infected by eating fertilized eggs; the eggs have to pass through the host and then the dog eats the host
  • Tapeworm eggs are released into the environment and then consumed
  • Dogs may consume fleas through the grooming process, or by biting at the anal area due to itching
  • The diet of the canine and the geographical location can influence the likelihood of tapeworm infestation
  • Rural, suburban and urban dogs may hunt rodents or be fed scraps containing the tapeworm
  • Eating undercooked or raw fish can cause a tapeworm infection
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Diagnosis of Tapeworms in Dogs

You may witness your pet scooting his behind along the floor, appearing restless, or displaying other symptoms indicative of a tapeworm infestation. If you see tapeworm segments, whether dried up or moving in the feces or around the anus, bring the sample to the veterinarian. A diagnosis of tapeworm is usually reached by visual sighting by you, and an alerting of the veterinarian.

Because whole tapeworms and tapeworm segments are only passed in the stool intermittently, the stool sample that you bring could show a negative result after examination. This by no means clears the suspicion.

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Treatment of Tapeworms in Dogs

Fortunately, the treatment for tapeworm is simple and very effective. Your veterinarian will prescribe a dewormer, also called a parasiticide, which may come in the form of oral medication or injection.

The product will work quickly, and the tolerance in canines is very positive. The treatment causes the tapeworm to dissolve in the intestine of your canine companion, so you will not see a passing of tapeworm in the stool after administration.

It should be noted that your dog has been treated, but not cured of re-infection. Diligence in the area of regular deworming treatments is a must.

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Recovery of Tapeworms in Dogs

There are several steps to take that will prevent your furry family member from becoming infected with tapeworm again.

The control of fleas and lice is the best way to prevent infection from the most common type of tapeworm known to canines, the dipylidium caninum. If you have not yet rid your pet, and the environment in which he lives of fleas, then re-infection from tapeworms can occur within weeks. Speak to your veterinarian about how to rid your home from fleas.

Do not allow your pet to hunt and consume wild animals. Do not feed them contaminated scraps, raw meat (unless is has been frozen for at least 10 days previously), or raw and undercooked fish.

Clean up any feces that may be in your pet’s outdoor environment, and make a habit of keeping your yard clean.

Incorrect use of deworming products is the most common reason for failure to rid your dog of tapeworm. Be sure to follow your veterinarian’s instructions to the letter. Do not hesitate to ask for advice from your veterinary team at any time during the deworming process.

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Tapeworms Average Cost

From 367 quotes ranging from $250 - $500

Average Cost

$300

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Tapeworms Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Golden Retriever

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Thirteen Weeks

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Tapeworms

My puppy received one of these pills but just went to the bathroom and I saw one tapeworm moving. Is it possible he needs more aggressive treatment?

July 27, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Sara O. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Hello, Usually, once you give the pill you may see your dog poop out some of the worms. If it has been a while, he may need another dosage. Your vet can get you another pill to help get rid of these worms.

July 27, 2020

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Mimo

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Poodle mix

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6 Months

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Vomiting
Lethargic
No Appetite

Puppy has been diagnosed with tapeworm and given medication but after 3 days is showing no signs of improvement. Has not eaten in four days( we have to feed him with a syringe) drinks water but not enough so we bought electrolyte water, and wants to be laying down most of the day.

Sept. 9, 2018

Mimo's Owner

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mia

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Pit bull

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2 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Live Worms In Poop

My pup was seen for shots and deworming today is it normal for her to pass live worms? the deworming med was pyrantel/pamoate 50mg/ml dont know if that is normal

Aug. 27, 2018

mia's Owner

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recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

Live worms may be passed, it isn’t pleasant but may occur; ensure that you clean up all the faeces which is passed and keep good hygiene practices. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Aug. 27, 2018

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Drogo

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Curr

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1 Year

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Serious severity

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0 found helpful

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Pooping Warms

I got a dog from someone a few weeks ago after about a week of having him he had a really long roundworm come out in his poo. Everyone said it was roundworms so I went and got some dewormer from Walmart. Every since I have the worm him for the past week almost 2 weeks he has been pooping out things that look like tapeworms little pieces of white rice I'm so confused I don't know what to do I'm scared my dog is going to die or get me or my kids sick because I've heard that worms can be bad for humans as well please help me I don't have money to take him to the vet I don't know what to do is my dog going to die should I get rid of him before he makes us sick

Aug. 8, 2018

Drogo's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

Worming should be done regularly, there are many different anthelmintics on the market but many pet shop or products at Walmart are not effective. It is advisable to get an effective anthelmintic from your Veterinarian, but you may try to use a product like Panacur c (fenbendazole) which is effective against roundworms, hookworms, whipworms and tapeworms. If there is no improvement, visit a Veterinarian regardless. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM www.walmart.com/search/?query=panacur&cat;_id=0

Aug. 8, 2018

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Shug

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Pug

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3 Years

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Fair severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Sick After Eating At Night.

Hi my 3 year old pug has been sick in the evening after his last meal for the last 4 nights.He has dry food in the morning which does not effect him, but the sickness has been after wet food. The sickness has been runny and almost projectile.. he is not displaying signs of distress and still has his appetite. Today I noticed his poo looked like it was full of boiled rice grains. Does this sound like a tapeworm problem? Thanks

July 30, 2018

Shug's Owner

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recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

It certainly sounds like Shug may have tapeworms, you should be giving him an anthelmintic on a regular basis to prevent against worms; there are various different products you may use and you should get something from your Veterinarian as pet shop products are not as effective. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 31, 2018

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Hannah

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Jack Russell

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13 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea
Vomiting

My dog has a tapeworm and I gave her deworming medication two days ago from Petco. Can I give her another dose, because she still has them? The box says to give it to her again in three months as part of a routine, but I was wondering if I should give it now to get rid of them, then start the routine.

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Baloo

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Boston Terrier

dog-age-icon

1 Year

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Tapeworms In Stool

I have two Boston Terriers, one is 3 years old and the other is almost a year. Never dealt with worms until about a week ago with my youngest. My husband and I are going on vacation in a week, will a kennel company still accept my dog? I wish I could cancel my trip but it’s already paid for and non-refundable. I have already treated him once with meds from vet, but the worms are still alive. He only poops worms in the morning and I have noticed there are less and less each day, but they’re still alive. He has had them for a week today.

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Willow

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pit bull terrier

dog-age-icon

2 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

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pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Worms In Stool

I dewormed my dog using SafeGuard 4 in late December. It says it kills tapeworms, roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms. I then gave her HeartGard Plus on January 8th which prevents heart worms and controls round and hook worms. Now it is February 18th, she received her second HeartGard pill on Feb. 8th. My issue is that she has a severe infection of tapeworms now, I am wondering if it is safe to deworm her again and if I should use the same safeguard wormer or use a different one. I am afraid that it might react with her heartgard that is in her system. She is on topical flea preventative as well.

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Gatling

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Bordoodle

dog-age-icon

4 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

None

My dog has had tapeworms since we got him at 6 weeks. He also came infested with fleas which we have taken care of, we did this within the first few days of having him and haven’t had fleas since. It’s to the point where all of the vets at the clinic had to sit down in a meeting to try and figure out what to do with Gatling. Right now, per an internal specialist we have him on Centex 100mg. If this doesn’t work, which it doesn’t seem to be, he’ll get a high dose of Dontal Plus. The vets have said at this point he can’t be reinfecting himself because he isn’t having a period of time where we aren’t seeing worms which is why they are beyond themselves. I’m getting frustrated myself and am seeking outside advise from my vet just to see if I can bring any other options to the table. Mr G is fine all around aside from the worms; he doesn’t show discomfort or lack of appetite. He plays and eats fine... it’s almost like he and the worms are inseparable.

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Merlin

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Pomeranian

dog-age-icon

5 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Worms In Poo

I have a 5 month old Pomeranian that had tapeworms when I first got him a month and a half ago. He has been treated 2 times with Drontal Plus from the Vet and then I bought 5 Bayer tapeworm dewormer with praziquantel. He STILL has worm segments! I have been giving him this medication now for a month and I don't know what to do. I have washed everything and both of my dogs are on Trifexis. He has gained 3 pounds since I first got him and has all of his hair again. Is there another type of tapeworm that is immune to these drugs? Is there some other treatment that I can try?

Tapeworms Average Cost

From 367 quotes ranging from $250 - $500

Average Cost

$300

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