What is the treatment for tapeworm in dogs?
Tapeworms are a kind of worm that lives inside the intestines of animals. They latch themselves to the inside with hooks inside their mouths, making it basically impossible to get them out until you kill them. They then suck away at the nutrients the dog needs to keep itself healthy.
How do dogs get tapeworms?
There are a couple of ways. Sometimes dogs eat all or part of an animal that already has worms. This could be a mouse or rat or some other small animal that a dog might try to swallow. More likely, the dog has eaten a flea. Fleas often contain eggs of tapeworms, and when the flea gets into the dog's stomach the eggs will hatch and turn into the adults. This makes effective flea control very important to preventing your dog from getting them - but if your dog already has them, it won't be enough on its own, because you have to do something to get rid of them.
What are the symptoms in dogs?
The most common thing that you will see are little pieces / segments of the worms in the dog's feces. They will look like little white pieces of corn. When dogs vomit and have tapeworms, often they will cough up a worm in its entirety. As far as symptoms go, watch for the dog rubbing its rear end on the carpet in discomfort. Also look for weight loss - this only happens if it gets very severe with quite a few worms, but it is possible. For the most part, tapeworms are an annoyance to the dog but only cause minor symptoms. However, you should not let them go untreated even if the dog does not seem sick - if there get to be too many worms, the dog will have nutritional deficiencies that cause long run problems.
What is the treatment?
Your vet will give you a deworming medicine - just a pill that kills the worms and lets your dogs digest them. After that, you need to get rid of the fleas to keep them from coming back.
Can I catch them from my dog?
Only if you're in the habit of eating fleas. It has happened, but it's not something that's likely - if a flea jumps in your mouth when you're asleep then you could get them, but that's about it. You won't get them from touching or being around your dog.
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