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How Do I Get Rid of Tapeworms in Dogs?

A tapeworm is a parasite that lives in a host's intestines.
Tapeworms in a dog is treated with medication.
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  • Written By: Nicole Long
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 16 July 2014
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Tapeworms in dogs are often diagnosed through the examination of a dog’s fecal matter. Several different types of tapeworms can be found in infected canines, and treatment will depend on the tapeworm type. The treatment to get rid of tapeworms is medication aimed specifically at the type of tapeworm infecting the dog.

Dogs infected with tapeworms typically carry them in their intestines, though other organs can be affected. Flat and segmented, tapeworms attach themselves to the linings of the intestines and other organs and feed off the nutrients found there. When passed, the tapeworms can resemble small seeds or grains of uncooked rice.

Seeking immediate treatment when signs of tapeworm first present themselves can help promote a favorable outcome for tapeworms in dogs. Signs of tapeworm infection include eggs or tapeworm segments in feces as well as anal area discomfort, often noticed when a dog begins to lick themselves or scoot along the ground. Other signs can include abdominal discomfort and vomiting.

Taenia species tapeworms are one type of tapeworm commonly found in dogs. Infection can occur from eating raw meat or preying on wild animals. Taenia tapeworms can grow over the course of a year or longer, and reach lengths of six feet (1.82 meters) long. Treatment focuses on using several types of medication with one of several active ingredients, including fenbendazole and praziquantel.

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Flea tapeworms can come from interaction with fleas or lice. They can get up to 20 inches (50.8 cm) long, and are found in all parts of the world. Treating flea tapeworms will include giving the dog medication containing praziquantel or epsiprantel.

Dogs can become infected with Echinococcus granulosus tapeworms through the ingestion of uncooked meat, or through interactions with rodent or animal feces. Often shortened to Echinococcus, the tapeworms can be found in the lungs, liver, and intestines of infected dogs. Treatment to get rid of these tapeworms in dogs is the medication praziquantel.

Several other tapeworms exist that have been found in dogs. Other types of tapeworms in dogs include the broad fish tapeworm and spirometra mansonoides. In both of these cases, praziquantel is the normal prescribed treatment.

Beyond just focusing on the treatments related to tapeworm in dogs, dog owners can also work to prevent tapeworms. Taking preventative steps, such as using flea and tick preventatives, is an important part of preventing tapeworms. Keeping animals from eating infected rodents and wildlife can also help with preventing tapeworms in dogs.

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