Tapeworms are one of the most common parasites seen in dogs and cats. Luckily, the symptoms they cause are not severe and our Tampa veterinarians have excellent ways to help you eliminate them. There are different kinds of tapeworms, but the most common one is caused by swallowing an infected flea. Fleas can carry the tapeworm’s larvae or babies. If your dog or cat swallows it, while grooming himself, an adult tapeworm can grow inside their intestines and then pass the segments in their stool.
Although cats and dogs are rarely severely ill as a result of a tapeworm infection, the segments can sometimes be seen crawling near the anus or on the surface of a fresh bowel movement, one of the most common calls we get at our Tampa animal clinic. In very severe cases the pet can suffer from weight loss even though the food intake is the same due to the tapeworms robbing your pet’s nutrition. Sometimes, an infected dog will “scoot” or drag its anus across the ground or carpet because the segments are irritating to the skin in this area.
Treatment is readily available at our Tampa veterinarian hospital with either an injection or pill form of a dewormer. By far the best way to prevent tapeworms is to have your pet on a quality, monthly flea prevention since fleas are the most common way tapeworms are transmitted. Here in Tampa, our veterinarians see fleas year round which mean your pet is at risk of infection year round. If you think your dog or cat is infected with tapeworms, call our Tampa veterinarian clinic for an appointment to get an accurate diagnosis and safe, effective treatment options.