Tapeworm in Dogs
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Tapeworm in Dogs

Usually appearing at the same time as flea infestations, the dog tapeworm can be just that last drop that makes the dam to burst. This internal parasite looks like a flat worm that attaches itself to the inside of the intestines of a dog and feeds on whatever that passes by, more or less stealing food and nutrition from the dog. The dog tapeworm can live for an extensive period of time and if not treated it can do the dog some serious harm due to the tremendous weight loss and weakness combined with the lack of nutrition in the bloodstream. Luckily the treatment is rather simple and painless and the dog will most likely not notice it at all. <

Tapeworm in dogs – Lifecycle

The dog tapeworm starts out its life as an egg but that is where the similarity too many other species end. Although the egg can be swallowed by a dog immediately it is much more common that a flea larva eats the egg and gets infected. When the adult flea later on chooses a dog for its host and start to colonize the dog will gnaw its fur in an effort to get rid of the flea, hence swallowing some flea by mistake. Flea infected with the dog tape worm will in death infect the dog and it is therefore flea infection and tapeworm infection usually goes hand in hand. The tapeworm will then find a suitable spot on the inside of the dogs intestines and attach itself. Then the tapeworm will start to grow, and grow, and grow. A tapeworm can become as long as the entire system of intestines and is built up by segments, each segment being a reproduction system in its own. These segments, together with the eggs, will eventually get loose from the actual dog tapeworm and follow the dogs faeces out into the world. New dog tapeworm eggs see the light of day and get eaten by flea larvae. The lifecycle of the dog tapeworm is complete.

Dog tapeworm – Symptoms

The dog will at first not show any different signs than of ordinary mild illness with diarrhea and occasional vomiting. Later the dog will show signs of an increased appetite while dropping in weight and, due to the fact that the dog tapeworm is stealing nutrition and energy from the dog, the fur might also seem to become poorer in health while the dog itself will appear as weaker than before. With the tapeworm segments and egg sacks working its way to the dogs rectum an enormous anal irritation will cause the dog to perform the well-known behaviour of dragging its anus across carpets or the floor. The segments and egg sacks can also be found in the dogs stool looking as small pieces of tape, from where the parasite got its name, and grains of rice. These can also be seen falling out of the dogs anus.

Dog tapeworm – Treatment

Luckily this parasite is quite easy to get rid of. The veterinarian has all the antiparasitical medication and information that is needed to handle the situation. The medication will dissolve the dog tapeworm inside the dog itself and the parts of it will come out naturally. The treatment might need to be repeated though since the dog still might be in contact with infected fleas or has swallowed new eggs. Eventually the dogs intestines will be rid of the dog tapeworm and the dog will be as healthy as ever.

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