Parasitic infestations can place a substantial burden on our pets- causing intestinal distress and other forms of discomfort. One of the most common parasites found in cats and dogs is the tapeworm. Though tapeworms often do not cause serious symptoms in pets, they are capable of growing, obstructing the intestines if left untreated.
There are several types of tapeworms that can infest cats and dogs, most of which infest a pet through an intermediate host. The most common type of tapeworm to infest cats and dogs is Dipylidium caninum, which are generally spread through the ingestion of fleas. Cats can also become infected by Taenia taeniaformis tapeworms, which are found in rodents.
Though other types of tapeworms can also infest your cat or dog, the general symptoms and treatment for tapeworms remains the same. Though there are variations between different species of tapeworms, tapeworms generally have an oval head with hooks that protrude to attach the worm to the lining of the small intestine. If left untreated, these worms can grow up to more than a foot in length.
Symptoms and Treatments
The general symptoms associated with tapeworms include anal irritation, scooting, vomiting, loss of appetite, and occasionally diarrhea. One of the best ways to identify tapeworm are to examine your petís stool. Pets infested with tapeworms will often have bits of the tapeworm visible in their stool or on and near the rectum that are easy to recognize. Tapeworm fragments look like fly maggots when fresh but will take on the appearance of small bits of rice when dry.
Though these symptoms may seem easy to recognize, most cats and dogs do not exhibit any signs of illness. In any event, it is recommended you take your pet and any samples of possible tapeworms to your veterinarian to determine the cause of the problem. Cats and dogs that are determined to be infested with tapeworms should then be treated with the appropriate medication.
There are several treatments available for treating pets with tapeworms, some of which also treat other parasites. Tape Worm Tabs is an excellent method of treating tapeworms and can be administered orally to make treatment simple. The treatment is also available in two formulations to treat both dogs and cats. Other treatments, such as Panacur C will treat tapeworms, hookworms, roundworms, and whipworms in dogs.
Spread and Prevention
Though there are a variety of effective dewormers available to treat pets that are infested with tapeworms, it is a considerably better option to prevent infestations altogether. Though being flea-free is no guarantee that your pet is safe from tapeworms, it can certainly reduce the risk of infestation. Itís a good idea to protect your pet from both fleas and tapeworms with a preventive like Frontline Plus.
Additionally, itís important to keep your pet away from other potential intermediate hosts that may spread tapeworms to your animal. This means ensuring that your cat or dog does not eat other animals and should be monitored when a location where they might be able to hunt and eat wildlife. Additionally, you can also administer preventives that work specifically to combat parasitic infections.
Tape Worm Tabs works to prevent flea infestations to prevent your pet from a second infestation. Other treatments might aim to prevent multiple types of parasites directly. Some of these preventive treatments, however, may require a prescription. For more information, ask your veterinarian how to recognize and treat tapeworms in your pet.