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Preventing and Treating Tapeworms in Dogs and Cats in Castle Rock

September 8th, 2014 by Cherished Companions Animal Clinic

Max, the dog, and Sophie, the cat, have both had experiences with tapeworms.

When it comes to caring for your beloved pet, we know that tapeworms may not be the topic you want to discuss in casual conversation.

Nor do you want to find evidence of them in your pet’s bed or other places around your home!

But in Castle Rock, tapeworms are an ever-present hazard for both dogs and cats.

Here’s a closer look at tapeworms in dogs and cats — and tips on how to prevent and treat the parasites.

Tapeworms Are Intestinal Parasites

Tapeworms are one of the most common parasites found in dogs and cats in Castle Rock, Colorado.

Unfortunately, they also can be the most difficult parasite to eliminate because their symptoms aren’t always apparent.

A tapeworm is a long, flat and ribbon-like worm that attaches itself to the inside of your pet’s small intestine with its mouth. The worm can be up to several feet in length, and it’s made up of many smaller segments.

If you see segments that look like grains of rice on your pet’s rear end or in his or her feces, it’s time for a veterinary visit!

In our Castle Rock veterinary clinic, we typically see tapeworms in:

  • Cats that have eaten mice
  • Dogs that have ingested rabbit or rodent carcasses

Generally speaking, your pet can become infected with a tapeworm by ingesting fleas, rabbits, rodents and other forms of uncooked meat.

Impact on Your Pets

While tapeworms can decrease your pet’s nutritional intake, they typically don’t pose a serious health threat to adult dogs and cats.

And we rarely see them in kittens and puppies (unless there’s a flea infestation).

Preventing Tapeworms in Dogs and Cats

To prevent common tapeworms in your dog or cat, you can take a few steps around your home and neighborhood:

  • First, do your best to prevent your pet from eating dead animals, garbage and other animals’ feces.
  • Second, ensure your pet is living in a flea-free environment.
  • And third, don’t give your furry friend uncooked meat.

Treating Tapeworms in Dogs and Cats

Tapeworms can be difficult to diagnose because tapeworm segments are only passed intermittently.

We may ask you to bring in a stool sample to your pet’s veterinary exam, so we can check for the worm.

But keep in mind, a fecal test won’t always show that your pet has tapeworms.

If your dog or cat has a tapeworm, we can prescribe a medication to kill the tapeworm, including the head. (If the head isn’t eliminated, the worm can actually regenerate.)

We can prescribe the medication as a tablet or as a liquid you inject into your pet, depending on your preference.

It’s worth noting that if your pet eats another carcass, he or she can get a new tapeworm.

If you know your pet is an active hunter and routinely gets tapeworms, we can treat your pet with tapeworm medicine every three to four months to deworm your pet.

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Cherished Companions Animal Clinic is a veterinary clinic in Castle Rock, Colorado. Specializing in the care of cats and dogs, our goal is to help you and your pet feel more comfortable, keeping your stress to a minimum.

This article is intended to provide general guidance on tapeworms in dogs and cats in Castle Rock. If you have specific questions or concerns, please contact your local veterinarian. (If you live in or around Castle Rock, we welcome your call.)

© 2014, Cherished Companions Animal Clinic

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