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Tapeworm in Dogs

Tapeworms are within the cestode classification of endoparasites. Cestodes are flatworm parasites which live in the digestive tract of a host. Their unique segmented body is important to their life cycles. There are 3 types of tapeworms in dogs; Dipylidium, Taenia and Echinococcus.

Dipylidium is the most common of the tapeworms. The flea acts as the intermediate host; they eat the eggs of the tapeworm found in the environment and are then themselves ingested by the dog, usually during grooming. Once in the gut of the dog, the segmented body of the tapeworm separates and passes out in the faeces into the environment, for new eggs to be ingested by a flea or next host and so the cycle starts again. A comprehensive dog worming program should include regular suitable flea treatments, to combat infection and prevent re-infection from this strain of tapeworm in dogs.

Taenia is mostly found in cats but is capable of infecting dogs also. This tapeworm uses rodents and other prey animals such as birds, squirrels and even sheep as an intermediate host. The intermediate host ingests the eggs from the body segments of the tapeworm from the environment; the dog then eats his prey, the host, now infected with the tapeworm. The tapeworm develops to adult stage in the same way as Dipylidium; the tapeworm sheds its body segments via the dog’s anus to infect the environment. Hunting dogs or dogs which may come into contact with infected sheep should be regularly wormed to prevent infection from tapeworm.

Before administering any dog worming product, please ensure you always read the pack information and any additional leaflet provided. If in doubt, consult a veterinary professional before using the product.

See our full range of wormers for dogs »

Download a Life Cycle of Tapeworm PDF factsheet »

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