Can My Pet Get a Tapeworm?

Even the word “tapeworm” tends to make one’s skin crawl. These worms can reach six to eight inches in length, and their name comes from their flat, tape-like appearance.  Disgusting as the subject might be, tapeworms do present a danger to our pets. Infestation by a tapeworm isn’t particularly common, but it can happen. Ask your vet Gresham, OR if they’ve ever treated a tapeworm infestation in a pet.

Read on as your veterinary clinic Gresham, OR tells you more about how pets get tapeworm, what symptoms look like, and how you can treat and prevent the problem.

How do pets get tapeworms?

The larvae of the tapeworm are carried by fleas. A pet that has fleas will naturally lick itself in an attempt to relieve the itch, and they’ll ingest tapeworm larvae as a result. In the intestines, the tapeworm emerges from the larval stage and grows. Your veterinarian Gresham, OR can tell you more about this process.

It’s also possible for a pet not infected with fleas to contract tapeworms. They do so when they eat parts of other animals, such as wild rodents or birds. Ask your veterinarians Gresham, OR for advice on keeping your pet away from road kill and wild animals.

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What are the symptoms?

We sometimes think of tapeworms as parasites who “steal” all of your pet’s nutrients, causing weight loss in pets. This isn’t really the case. Tapeworms do feed on the nutrients passing through your pet’s digestive tract, yes. But it’s not enough to cause weight loss or malnutrition in most pets. In fact, tapeworms are generally well-tolerated by their host animals! Your pet clinic Gresham, OR will tell you that many pets can have tapeworms for years on end without showing any ill health effects.

So, how can you tell if your pet has tapeworms? The primary symptom is visible segments of the worm in your pet’s stools. You’ll see small bits of white or cream-colored worm, or segments might be stuck around the anus and tail. You might also notice your pet dragging their butt across the floor more than usual. Some pets lick or chew at the anal opening, too. If you see this behavior in your pet, call your animal hospital Gresham, OR.

What’s the treatment?

Scary as a tapeworm infestation might seem, it’s usually not difficult to eradicate. Deworming medications will be prescribed by your vet clinic Gresham, OR. These medications cause the tapeworm to be digested normally in your pet’s stomach.

You’ll want to clean and disinfect your pet’s environment thoroughly in order to prevent a case of re-infestation. Ask your vets Gresham, OR for advice on this.

How can I keep my pet safe?

Aside from keeping your pet away from roadkill and stopping them from hunting wild animals, there’s one easy way to make a tapeworm infestation unlikely. Keep your pet on a high-quality flea preventative. This stops the problem before it can even start! Consult your veterinary clinic Gresham, OR if your pet needs a flea preventative or a heartworm medication to ward off other types of parasitic worms.

Your veterinarian Gresham, OR can tell you more about tapeworms in pets. Call theo office today!

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