Tapeworms are flat, white worms that attach themselves to the wall of gut using hook-like suckers. They feed there and grow. They typically settle in the small intestine and can grow from 4 to 8 inches. Medical name for tapeworm infestation is 'Cestodiasis'. Tapeworm species that infect dogs are mainly Taenia, Diphylidium Caninum, Echinococcus and Mesocestoides.
The primary reason of tapeworm infestation is the ingestion of immediate hosts containing larvae. Tapeworm eggs can also be transmitted through adult fleas. Our pets are fond of scavenging, which can result to tapeworm infestation. It can also be transmitted via other animals, such as rabbit and birds.
Sometimes tapeworm breaks into segments and passes into the intestine. These come out with feces as dried, white to cream colored segments of tapeworms. Some of the segments might also be seen in the fur under the tail.
Some break off into small pieces that are hard to see. Some of these resemble to sesame or cucumber seeds in size and appearance.
Pets bite or lick the anus and scoot in response to itching.
Tapeworms, sporadically makes pets vomit. Long, 4 to 8 inch, worms can be seen in their vomit.
Pets also lose weight in case of heavy infection.
Veterinarians look for segments of tapeworms crawling on dog's body, specially under the fur. They also examine dog's feces for segments or eggs of tapeworms, under a microscope. Not every time the segments come out in feces, so several sample might be needed for examination.
If the veterinarian diagnoses tapeworm infestation, she will prescribe medication. Medication can be oral and/or injection. It is curable.
Control flea around your pet keeping your home and around clean. You can use flea spray, powder, collars, oral medication or topical liquid.
Do not allow unsupervised roaming to your pet.
Be careful about other animals' company with your pet.
Always cleanup after your pet, yard and park.