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The truth about Tapeworms!

How do our pets get tapeworms?

Tapeworms come from ingesting a single flea with a tapeworm egg in it’s belly. The flea larvae eat the tapeworm eggs and grow with the egg still in it’s digestive tract. After ingested the flea will be dissolved by stomach acid but the tapeworm will hatch and begin to grow within the pets’ intestines.

Why are tapeworms hard to diagnose?

Unlike other intestinal parasites tapeworms do not release there eggs straight into the feces. These segmented worms allow small segments(or packets) of eggs to detach and exit the rectum of the pet at any interval not just when they are pooping. Often a stool sample will be negative. These worms are normally diagnosed through visual confirmation by the pets’ owner or they are treated based on signs or exposure to fleas. Tapeworms look like grains of wiggling rice or as the dry look like sesame seeds attached to fur around rear end.

How do we treat these worms?

Treatment of a tapeworm is simple and is available in both oral and injectable form. We will choose the best form of treatment based on your pet’s signs and how easy it is to medicate them with pills.

What are the signs of tapeworms?

Signs can be easily overlooked as the can be intermittent. Signs include vomiting periodically, nausea (lip smacking and drooling), inappetence, weight loss, some animals lick or bite at their rear and scooting(dragging their hind end on the floor).

How do we prevent re-infection?

We change the household’s flea protocols. We urge owners to place all animals in the home on an effective flea prevention, we try to treat the home with a insect growth regulator and treat the yard or any outdoor area of exposure when possible. If we can not control exposure we place pets on a monthly heartworm prevention that also includes dewormer for tapeworms.

Remember tapeworms can be caused by one flea and it is not always a sign of flea infestation, so don’t hesitate to contact us if your see any signs of tapeworms.

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