The 3 Types of Dog Tapeworm

Dog tapeworm is a parasite that can cause illness in your pets, which can result in stomach blockage, or even death. Get to know what kind of tapeworms could infect your animals, so you can take steps to avoid infestation.

3 Types of Tapeworm

Dipylidium Caninum - Dipylidium caninum is the most common tapeworm that infects pets, particularly dogs and cats, as well as the pet owner. The mode of transmission is through inflected fleas, which the animals digest after licking themselves while grooming.

Taenia Pisiformis - Taenia pisiformis infects dogs less frequently, and uses a rabbit as a vector for transmission. Transmission is easier to prevent with taenia pisiformis, as your dog needs direct contact with an infected rabbit in order to be contaminated. Similar to the transmission of Dipylidium caninum, the transmission of the tapeworm occurs through an infective host, although the host for taenia pisiformis is a rabbit.

Echinococchus - The Echinococchus species is very similar to taenia pisiformis in transition, but the vector is different. This species can use both small animals, like rodents, or large animals, like deer or sheep, to infect your pet.

Transmission of Tapeworms

This tapeworm affects animals most frequently because of the ease of transmission. Tapeworm eggs transmit through the fecal matter of the infected dog, and are eaten by fleas, rabbits or other infective hosts during the infective stage. Eggs can be found laid in grass or vegetation, and are eaten by larger hosts.

These eggs hatch in the stomach of the infective animal. The flea attaches to your dog, that licks him or herself while grooming, swallowing the tapeworm as well. The larvae living inside the stomach of the flea, rodent, or larger animals will infect the dog during digestion.

Once inside your dog's stomach, the head of the tapeworm attaches to the wall of the small intestine. There, the tapeworm begins to grow a chain of proglottids, which are the reproductive units of the tapeworm that are passed on with the infected animal's fecal matter, continuing the cycle.

Tapeworms Found in Dog's Feces

Tapeworm infection can be invisible or obvious. The only sure sign is physical evidence, which can be found in the feces or in passed segments. Mucosal diarrhea can be a symptom, as can upset stomach, but these are not definitive symptoms.

Treating Tapeworm Infections

There are hundreds of old wives' tales documenting tried methods to combat tapeworms, but modern medicine offers better results. Prescription medications like Droncit cause the layer surrounding the tapeworm that protects the worm from stomach acid to disintegrate. The tapeworms are then digested and disappear.

Preventing the Tapeworm Parasites

A clean environment is one of the most important ways to prevent new infections. To prevent Taenia Pisiformis, prevent your dog from coming into contact with potentially infected rabbits. For protection against Dipylidium caninum, use Frontline TopSpot to kill the fleas living on your pet.