Wednesday, September 23, 2015

How Do You Know Your Dog has Tapeworms? And What do You Do?

I know Francesca has cooties.
But this is even WORSE!
What? Tapeworms in MY family? Tapeworms in dogs are not as rare as you might think. However, their life cycle involves fleas and that is why I am so surprised. Both Francesca and I are on systemic flea medication… one pill every 12 weeks.

Warning: This is a graphic discussion of dog poop and tapeworms which may offend some humans.

So this morning my owner became alarmed when she saw a small grain of a rice type organism in Francesca’s poop. I have to say that Francesca had been annoying me a lot lately by licking her behind. Now I know that is another symptom of tapeworms.

I read on the Internet that when you tell your veterinarian there's rice in your dog’s poop, a diagnosis of tapeworm is likely.  They say that Tapeworm is pretty common and that it is a parasite carried by fleas. (We don’t have fleas!).

So here’s what they say about a dog with tapeworms. The dog shed tapeworm segments in her feces. You may find segments on his buttocks and bed.  (YUCK!) The segments are initially white with a rice-like appearance. As the tapeworm segment dries, the color changes to gold. Your dog may frequently lick his anus or scoot his butt across the carpet to relieve irritation caused by tapeworms. Most dogs do not have other symptoms, but acting sick or irritable with mild diarrhea is possible.  Here’s more information.

A process of several steps must take place before your dog is infected. The feces of an infected dog have tapeworm segments that have eggs in them. Flea larvae in the environment eat the eggs. Later they become adult fleas that your dog might ingest. And that is how the tapeworm gets started in your dog’s tummy.

I was appalled that Francesca had this horrible parasite. And, of course, I was really worried that I would “catch it.” So, although I laughed to my self when Francesca had to go to the vet, I wanted some advice for ME too!

When they got back they had two medicine vials. One was for me (2 pills) and one was for Francesca (one pill). Turns out that the medication is prescribed by weight. And I am a bit heavier (it’s all muscle) than Francesca. The vet said that even if Francesca is on flea medication, she may have picked up the parasite when she was running loose on the roads in Yamhill county.

So we got the pills with our breakfast and I feel much better psychologically. I know now that if I had any tapeworms inside me, they will be DEAD, DEAD, DEAD.

So that’s over… one dose and it’s done.

Love, Cinnamon

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Thanks for your comment. Love, Cinnamon