Do you know how to tell if your dog has tapeworms? Tapeworms are one of several kinds of worms that often infect a dog's intestinal tract. A tapeworm infection in your dog is easy to diagnose with the naked eye. Low cost and effective medication are also available. Read on to learn more.
A dog can come in contact with tapeworms through infected soil or fleas. Infected stools left on the ground can contaminate the area, so you should always immediately remove your dog's stools. Tapeworm larvae can stay in fleas, so if your dog swallows fleas while grooming, your dog may become infected with tapeworms. Thus, proper flea removal is another important preventive measure. Finally, if your dog hunts or eats wild game, your dog may come in contact with tapeworms or tapeworm-infected fleas from the wild animal.
Tapeworms have a long, flat, and segmented appearance, and can grow quite long. They are visible to the naked eye. You may observe moving or dead segments of tapeworms in the dog's fecal matter or near the rear. Dried out tapeworm segments can look like grains of rice. Other behavioral signs that your dog has tapeworms include stomach problems or vomiting, hunger or weight loss, and irritation or rubbing of the rear.
A generic dog deworming medication will not kill tapeworms. You need to find a deworming formulation that includes drugs specifically targeting tapeworms. Look for the ingredients praziquantel on the label. Epsiprantel is another drug often used for tapeworms. You can find some all-purpose deworming tablets which are find, as long as they include one of these ingredients.
As a side note, tapeworms can also infect humans. Although a direct transfer of tapeworm infection from a dog to human is rare, special precautions should be taken when there are infections or young children in contact with your dog.