Removing the Dreaded Tapeworm in Dogs
Posted on August 31, 2009 by Nancy Houser
We have found that fleas and tapeworms go hand-in-hand as they dance down the merry lane to some pretty intensive itching and misery for dogs—unless controlled immediately and routinely by the owner. If you see your dog scooting on their butt across the living room rug with their rear legs stuck straight out in the air, there is a chance they have worms. It stands to reason that the more scooting they are dong, the more it itches with the numbers of worms increasing inside.
Any dogs that live directly on the ground have an excellent chance of having tapeworm-infected fleas on them, which leads to tapeworms inside the dog’s bowels.
CHARACTERISTICS OF THE TAPEWORM
The rice-looking particles of tapeworm are just small pieces of segments of the entire tapeworm inside the dog, hooked to the intestinal walls with hooks and suckers which hold its head to the gut area. The worm can grow to incredible lengths if left untreated, known to be as long as 26 feet in beef or up to 100 feet in other invertebrates.
A class of parasitic flatworms, the tapeworms live in the digestive tract of all vertebrates, including humans. Referred to as the “Diphylidium caninum” in dogs, fleas and lice are its intermediate hosts when ingesting the eggs, thereby becoming infected themselves. How a human would be able to obtain this type of tapeworm is if they would accidentally swallow an infected flea through their hands.
What is passed through the rectum inside the feces are tapeworm segments about 1/4 of an inch long, able to move independently from the worm’s head inside the animal’s gut. These little moving segments are what causes the dog or other vertebrates to have intense itching in the anal area.
DIFFERENT TYPES OF TAPEWORMS IN DOGS
In addition to the common tapeworm in dogs, or the “Diphylidium caninum”, there are other types. “Taenia” consists of several tapeworm species in dogs, acquired by eating infected sheep, rabbits or rodents. If the dog is able to obtain fish-parts, they may obtain the “Diphyllobothrium” tapeworm species from fish organs, which are found in the northern part of the United States and Canada.
Another type of tapeworm is the “Echinococcus” tapeworm, which is typically uncommon in dogs. The intermediate hosts are not fleas or lice but deer, elk, goats, sheep, cattle, swine, horses…along with a few rodents.
PREVENTION OF TAPEWORM
The main prevention that works best is to keep the dogs flea and lice free. They should also be kept from roaming unattended without owner supervision. Otherwise, they have a tendency to eat dead animals which may have fleas, lice or rodents that are infected with the tapeworms. Many dogs also eat animal feces, with the same results. Quite a few veterinarians suggest to avoid consuming uncooked raw game and raw meats or giving it to the dogs, which is controversial to the raw food diet many dog owners advocate.
UNCOOKED RAW MEAT AND TAPEWORMS
The “Echinococcus granulosa” infection is becoming a public health consideration, obtained from eating contaminated uncooked meat. Dogs get it from feeding on the dead carcass of an infected animal. When handling dog feces from the infected dog, humans can acquire the disease from cleaning up after their dogs without using plastic gloves or disposing properly of the feces, and failing to wash their hands immediately afterwards.
The eggs are then ingested through the human’s mouth, with larvae producing large cysts in the body’s liver, lungs and brain—called “hydatids”. They are known to cause serious illness and death to people who have obtained the disease. The few cases which are reported are located in the southern, southwestern, and western parts of the United States. Dogs who live in these areas should have their stools checked twice a year for this type of tapeworms.
This particular tapeworm can be identified “ONLY” by removing the worm’s head through very effective deworming of the dog.
Commercial Tapeworm Treatments
Some excellent commercial treatments are Droncit, Cestex, and Drontal Plus Allwormer for common types of tapeworms under veterinary guidance. Most vets suggest worming with an all-round wormer four times a year to twice a year, depending on the dog’s situation and condition.
Over the years, we have used Drontal Plus Allwormer or Happy Jack Tapeworm Tablets (under $20):
Drontal Plus for dogs is a good overall wormer as it removes all common canine intestinal worms—such as hookworms, roundworms, whipworms and tapeworms. This dewormer product can be used safely on puppies from three weeks of age and 2 lbs in weight.Their prices for dogs range from $4.95 per tablet with one tablet used for a small dog; a medium sized dog would require a pill for $10.95; large dogs would require a pill for $18.95.
For tapeworm alone we use Happy Jack’s Tapeworm Tablets with 30 tablets for 300 pounds of dogs (one tablet for 10# dog/2.5 tablets for a 25# dog) which is under $20 a bottle at the local feed stores.
Natural Tapeworm Treatments
There are many natural products available anymore without chemicals or preservatives for tapeworm removal. Once such product is HomeoPet Wrm Clear –”HomeoPet Wrm Clear is a 100% natural and fast acting liquid homeopathic product formulated for removal of hook, round and tapeworms. It helps prevent infestations by reducing susceptibility. Wrm Clear is easy to administer by dosing into either water or directly into the mouth. This product has no added chemicals and is a gentle, safer alternative to most wormers.” We offer to reviews for this product, one a so-so by a vet and the other is five stars for a woman’s cat:
When it comes to overgrowth of intestinal parasites, however, I have not found combination homeopathic remedies like this effective in most pets. Susceptibility to hookworms, roundworms and tapeworms is an individual issue, and homeopathic remedies are best prescribed on a case by case basis by an experienced veterinary homeopath , based on the unique and total symptom picture of an individual pet. And in those cases a single homeopathic remedy is prescribed to address this chronic weakness. When combination of remedies are combined in a product like this, most of the time the individuality of the patient is not taken into account, which is why such combination products typically fail when looked at across a large group of pets. While an occasional individual may respond, I have found that most pets don’t, and that simply deworming a pet with a broad acting wormer like Pyrantel or Panacure C is usually safe and more effective. I give this product an overall rating of a 2 with an efficacy a 2, taste a 4. (out of a 1-5 star rating)
My cats seem to get worms once a year as soon as fleas are on the scene…. I have tried many remedies, they won’t eat the pills, in the food, in the mouth, anyway you do it. All other liquid formulas have a smell and/or a taste and they won’t eat that either. This works, and they don’t hesitate to eat their food (I put it on a small amount of wet food). It’s all natural, I don’t worry about what I am giving them, and like I said, it works.(5 out of a 5 star rating)
Foods for Tapeworm Control
Things like garlic (fresh or powdered, aged garlic extract or a garlic tincture made of garlic/cider vinegar), cayenne pepper, grapefruit seed, or pumpkin seed are things that tapeworms prefer not to be around.
The garlic removes the layer of protection in the intestinal area, which makes the tapeworms uncomfortable in the prescence of roughage (such as pumpkin or grapefruit seeds which are processed) or other sharp irritants.
An advisable dosage is 1/8 tsp per day per 10-15 pounds of a dog’s weight. Irritants such diatomaceous earth, grated carrots, greens, sweet potatoes or pumpkin should be used in small quantities at first. Then after about 2 weeks you can increase their amount slightly, and wait for about two weeks again before readjusting. This way their digestive tracts will have time to adjust to the new foods.
If adding insoluble fiber to the mixture (such as wheat bran), soak the bran in water before adding it to the mixture, using just a pinch for small dogs and 1/8 tsp per 10 pounds. This is an excellent irritant for worms while also sweeping out the intestines. Feed the bran only for a couple days per month then discontinue, replacing with raw vegetables to do the same purpose.
An excellent food for dogs and cat are figs and papayas, which digest the outer coating of the intestinal worms. They should not be mixed with foods, but giving it separately as a treat so they can work independently in the animal’s body. If feeding dried figs, soak them one hour in water before feeding.
* * * * *
For more dog health info, dog stories and fun stuff, subscribe to our newsletter.
* * * * *