The cat or dog tapeworm infection is called 'Dipylidium caninum'. This worm's life cycle begins in the anus of the infected cat or dog. When the animal takes a potty, a small segment of the worm goes with the stool, bearing some tapeworm eggs. These eggs will lay dormant in the ground for about several months until these are accidentally consumed by a flea (an immediate host). You can already imagine how the whole system works.
The tapeworm invades the intestinal walls of the host and that's when the segments break off until they are released along with the waste. And since fleas serve as carriers of tapeworm, the next organism they infest is very likely to acquire this infection as well. Once infected with tapeworm, you will need to undergo several de-worming procedures to be able to dislodge the worm's head because that is the key to regenerate and continue reproducing.
Once infected, canines shed segments during bowel movements. These segments then release eggs which may be eaten by flea larvae. Dogs can then consume the infected flea whenever they cause itching that makes them lick or chew. Once your dog has swallowed the infected flea, eggs will be released into the digestive system and then hatch.
Dogs with tapeworms don't usually experience noticeable symptoms. You will only know something is amiss if you spot the small, white segments yourself. These segments may be in bedding, carpet, around your dog's anus, or anywhere on his fur.
As the segments dry out, they will turn golden. They start bothering your dog after drying out, so you may notice him licking himself a lot. He will especially lick around the anus. He may even scoot across the floor. Your dog may start vomiting if the worms detach from the intestinal wall and travel into the stomach. Weight loss results if the infection becomes too severe.
Many have identified tapeworm parasitism as one of the common reasons why people bring pets to an animal doctor. If your pet's intestines are invaded by tapeworms, they would experience diarrhea with excessive mucous, a rumbling tummy and worm segments that are present in their stool.
Veterinarians can easily determine if your dog has tapeworms. He will collect a stool sample and examine it under a microscope. The small segments will easily be visible under the microscope. After a definitive diagnosis has been made, treatment will usually begin immediately.
There are various ways to treat tapeworms in dogs. The worms can be dissolved by using either oral or injected medications. Treatment also entails eliminating fleas, since they play a vital role in transmission. Fleas can be controlled using powders, collars, or topical ointments.