How Do Pets Get Tapeworms

Tapeworms, also known as Cestodes, are the most common parasite of adult dogs and cats. Most dogs and cats become infected with tapeworms because they have fleas! Eliminating fleas is very important for the health of your pets and family. Tapeworms are just one of the many reasons to eliminate fleas.

In my opinion, the only safe and effective over the counter flea products are Advantage or Frontline. There are also several very good prescription products available from your veterinarian. PLEASE, DO NOT USE FLEA COLLARS OR ANY OTHER OVER THE COUNTER FLEA PRODUCTS! They are not effective and many are very toxic, especially to cats! A flea collar is nothing but a poison necklace!

The Tapeworm lives in the small intestine of an animal and can be anywhere from 1" to several feet long. The Tapeworm's head fastens to the intestinal wall of the animal and the body of the Tapeworm is made up of segments that contain egg packets. These segments are called Proglottids.These segments break off and pass out of the body in the feces. A fresh Tapeworm segment is @ 1/4" long and can be seen as white, flat and moving. You might also see these segments in the fur around the tail and anal area or in the pet's bedding. Once the segment dries out, it looks like a grain of rice.

The most common species of tapeworm is the Dipylidium Caninum. This is the tapeworm that dogs and cats get from ingesting an infected flea. The flea becomes infected by eating tapeworm eggs. When dogs and cats have fleas, they groom their fur and bite at their skin, this causes them to swallow a flea. If the flea is infected with immature tapeworms, your pet will now have tapeworms. Another, not as common source of tapeworms is Lice. Grooming and swallowing infected Lice will cause tapeworms, as well.

Another species of tapeworm commonly found in cats is called Taenia taeniaformis. This type of tapeworm is acquired when a cat hunts and eats rodents. If the rodent is infected with tapeworms, the cat will become infected as well. Taenia is most commonly found in cats but, dogs can also become infected with Taenia if they are eating rodents, raw meat, raw freshwater fish or raw animal parts.

There are also a few other, less common but more dangerous, species of tapeworms found in certain parts of the country. To avoid any tapeworm infestation in your pets, you should eliminate fleas and not allow your dogs or cats to roam or eat rodents, raw meat, raw game or raw freshwater fish.

If your dog or cat does become infected with tapeworms, the only effective deworming ingredient that eliminates all species of tapeworms is called Praziquantel. Dewormers that contain Praziquantel have always been available through your veterinarian. Recently Praziquantel has become available, over the counter, at a few Pet Retailers. It is expensive, but it is the only ingredient that will eliminate both Dipylidium and Taenia tapeworms.
Remember, If you don't eliminate the source of your pets tapeworm infestation, fleas, etc. In a very short time, they will have tapeworms again!

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