How Tapeworms Affect Pets And Their Owners
Tapeworms are flat, segmented intestinal worms shaped like a tape measure. They live and grow in the intestines. These parasites need either an animal or human host to survive. That’s why it’s important for pet owners to know a little more about them.
HOW DO ANIMALS GET INFECTED?
Fleas can transmit tapeworm to pets when a pet swallows a flea carrying tapeworm eggs.
Pets can also become infected when ingesting infected prey.
HOW CAN HUMANS GET INFECTED?
- Poor hygiene
- Contact with contaminated water
- Contact with contaminated feces
- Interacting with infected animals or contaminated soil
- Ingesting tapeworm eggs through contaminated water or food*
*usually raw or undercooked meat containing traces of contaminated feces.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF TAPEWORM INFECTION
Dog tapeworm is usually responsible for tapeworm in pets. Human tapeworm infection can be caused by pork tapeworm, beef tapeworm, fish tapeworm, dwarf tapeworm or dog tapeworm.
Common symptoms include:
- Weight loss
- Rough, patchy coat
- Vomiting (usually when there are tapeworms in the stomach)
TAPEWORMS CAN OFTEN BE SEEN NEAR
THE INFECTED ANIMAL’S ANUS OR IN ITS FECES.
It is not uncommon to have no symptoms, especially in the early stages of infection.
- Weight loss
- Abdominal pain
- Altered appetite
- Convulsions (in severe cases)
- Inflammation of the intestine
- General weakness or tiredness
- Vitamin B12 deficiency (very rare)
- Eggs, larvae or tapeworm segments in stool
KEEP IN MIND THAT SEVERAL OF THESE SYMPTOMS (AS WELL AS A COMBINATION OF THEM) ARE ASSOCIATED WITH VARIOUS OTHER DISEASES.
COMPLICATIONS OF TAPEWORM INFECTION
It depends on the type of tapeworm, but these are possible complications in humans:
- Cysticercosis from pork tapeworm eggs
- Neurocysticercosis from pork tapeworm
- Echinococcosis or hydatid disease from echinococcus tapeworm
Tapeworm infestation won’t resolve on its own and the longer you leave it, the worse it can get.
Tapeworm can be treated with an effective parasite control solution. Contaminated bedding and other objects need to be cleaned or discarded.
A healthcare professional will recommend a treatment plan based on the infected individual’s needs. Results should be monitored.
You can prevent tapeworm and flea infestation in pets with quality parasite control products.