Dog Tapeworm Treatment with Dewormer Products

Dog tapeworm has few symptoms, but if infections continue for too long, they can effect your dog's health. The primary treatment for any type of worm is a dewormer, but not all dewormers are effective in addressing tapeworm.

Tapeworm Infections

Tapeworms develop a life cycle that involves infecting and reinfecting its hosts. A tapeworm will attach itself in a dog's intestine where it will break off and release eggs, which appear in the dog's stool. These eggs are eaten by fleas, which are ingested by the dog when he is cleansing himself. The dog is then reinfected.

Tapeworms can be passed to humans if they ingest an infected flea larvae. This is more common with children, who put their hands in their mouths frequently.

Depending on the type of tapeworm your dog contracts, they can grow up to 6 feet in length and live in your pet for years relatively symptom-free. They absorb nutrients from the small intestine, which prevents your dog from getting many of the nutrients he needs.

In heavy infections, symptoms include anxious behavior, abdominal pain, vomiting and excessive anus licking or scooting.

Tapeworm Treatment

Because of the nature of the tapeworm's life cycle, treatment focuses on preventing tapeworms from reaching the small intestine where it can produce more eggs that will eventually be eliminated in your dog's stool.

To do this, veterinarians will prescribe a dewormer, either through a pill or injection, that will kill the worms in the dog's stomach, so they are digested with the dog's food and eliminated without producing eggs.

Some veterinarians prescribe only one treatment to accomplish this, but many prescribe two, giving the second pill or injection three weeks later since it's so easy for dogs to reinfect themselves. The eggs are very difficult for us to see, which often causes a fecal exam to show negative for tapeworms when your dog, in fact, has them. Thus, your dog may get treated and then reingest more infected flea larvae present on their skin or bedding.

Since the tapeworm life cycle lasts about three weeks, the second treatment serves as insurance that reinfestation won't occur.

There are many types of dewormers, but not all of them treat tapeworm. If you are worried that your dog may have tapeworm, ask for a dewormer with praziquantel, which is effective in treating all types of tapeworm. Praziquantel is used in Drontal Plus, which also treats hookworm, roundworm and whipworm, Iverhart Max, which also treats hookworm and roundworm, and Droncit, which is specifically for tapeworm.

Tapeworm Prevention

Because the most common type of tapeworm is transmitted through flea larvae, it's important to keep your dog flea-free to prevent tapeworm. Using monthly flea preventative keeps fleas from your house and from your dog's digestive system.

If your dog has suffered from a flea infestation, make sure to clean his bedding and other places where he sleeps thoroughly to remove larvae.

Tapeworm has very few symptoms but can still be harmful, so it's important to treat it as soon as tapeworm are detected. Simple treatment options are available, and prevention can ensure the worms don't return.