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Tapeworms - More Than Just A Flea Problem

If your dog has fleas, he could have tapeworms too.

Dipylidium caninum, the most common tapeworm species in dogs, is transmitted by fleas. Dogs can’t get tapeworms directly from other dogs or even cats. These parasites infect your pet through an intermediate host, like a flea.


Flea larvae in carpeting and pet bedding eat D. caninum eggs eliminated by an infected pet. As the flea matures, so does the tapeworm. By the time the flea is an adult, the tapeworm larvae is at a state where it can infect a dog. When a dog nips at a biting flea and accidentally swallows it, he swallows the infectious tapeworm larvae, as well.

Inside the dog, the adult tapeworm hooks onto the dog’s intestinal wall. Once attached, the tapeworm begins to grow a long tail of segments, each segment with its own digestive tract and reproductive system. The tapeworm continues to grow as it absorbs nutrients passing through the dog’s intestines. As a segment reaches the tail end of the tapeworm body, it drops off, full of eggs. These eggs are passed through the dog into the world, where they are eaten by flea larvae and the cycle begins all over again.


If you see little, flat white “grains” in your dog’s droppings, that’s a good sign your dog has tapeworms. Panacur C® is a highly effective wormer but can only be used in dogs. Some other choices for dogs are Worm X Plus® and D-Worm Combo. The active ingredient in these wormers is Praziquantel, which is effective in the removal of tapeworms. It’s safe for dogs and puppies over 4 weeks old. Do not use Praziquantel with pregnant dogs. Effective dewormers for cats are Drontal® Cat, Profender® Cat and ProLabs Tape Worm Tabs®.

Remember, for effective removal of tapeworms you need to control fleas, as well. Make sure you use effective flea and tick products to control fleas both on your pet and in your environment for complete flea and tapeworm control. Rotate your flea and tick products to ensure efficacy.

If you need help, call us at 1-800-786-4751.

-Dr. B
Don Bramlage, DVM, Director of Veterinary Services at Revival Animal Health

The materials, information and answers provided through this website are not intended to replace the medical advice or services of your personal veterinarian or other pet health care professional. Consult your own veterinarian for answers to specific medical questions, including diagnosis, treatment, therapy or medical attention.

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For over 25 years, Revival Animal Health has been caring for people who care for pets by delivering quality, reliable products, along with customer service that's committed to your needs. Owners, breeders and shelters count on us because we too love pets, and provide the knowledge, understanding and genuine care it takes to keep them happy and healthy. We feel this is truly what it means to serve you with Pet Care from the Heart®.

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