Dog Health & CareDog Worms

Removing the Dreaded Tapeworm Inside Pet-Owners

Most dog owners realize their dogs can get tapeworms if they are on the ground or have been exposed to a cat flea with tapeworms.  But little do they know that pet owners are exposed to parasites on a daily basis, with the dreaded tapeworm one of the most common and the oldest known parasites in today’s world for both pet-owners and their dogs.

Description of the tapeworm

mammal tapeworm
Head of the common tapeworm.

The parasitic flatworms that affect humans are called “cestodes or Woods”.  However, the tapeworms which affect dogs are the “Dipylidium caninum” which lives in the dog’s small intestine.

The tapeworm larvae will grow into adult tapeworms inside the intestines (intestinal tapeworm infection). However, if tapeworm eggs are consumed, they can migrate outside the body’s intestines and form cysts on the body’s organs or tissues (invasive tapeworm infection).

The tapeworm consists of three parts: (1) head or “scolex” consisting of hook-like mouth suckers, (2) neck and (3) body (also called “attached proglottids”—body segments which grow a tail and then break apart once the mouth is attached). What type of tapeworm infections that occur will influence the type of activity of the tapeworm.

For example: if an intestinal tapeworm infection is obtained by ingesting tapeworm larvae, the adult tapeworm will bite the wall of the host’s small intestine when it matures. The sucker head of the adult tapeworm attaches while the proglottid grows and produced eggs. These tapeworms can remain in the body’s intestines for up to 20 years and grow from 6 inches to 26 feet long, depending on the type of tapeworm infection.

The long body or tail of the attached tapeworm consists of many segments which are each an independent body. These segments have independent digestive system and a reproductive tract of their own, which allows each segment to survive on its own once it breaks off.

Meanwhile, the attached head of the tapeworm is absorbing nutrients through the intestinal walls as digested food flows by. The tapeworm grows and produces newer segments by the neckpiece, pushing the older segments toward the end of the tail. Once the segment reaches this end, it no longer has any digestive system but does have the reproductive tract left. In other words, by the time it drops off at the end the segment is nothing more than a sac of tapeworm eggs.

How humans get tapeworms

12 ft beef tapeworm

Removing the dreaded tapeworm inside pet-owners requires knowing about tapeworm eggs and tapeworm larvae.

Once the ingested tapeworm eggs or larvae enter the human body, a tapeworm infection will start. The most common sources are tapeworms from pork, beef, dwarf tapeworms, and fish.

Right now, in the United States the beef tapeworm is considered the most common form of tapeworm. In Asia, the fish and pork tapeworms are common while in Latin America the pork tapeworm is known to affect millions of people. Once the eggs leave their host’s digestive system, they travel through bowel movements and seek a nearby water supply. It is a fact that both animals AND humans ingest “baby tapeworms” on a regular basis.

Once people become infected with the tapeworm, the parasite will become the most dangerous when it is in the embryo stage, which is why treatments at this stage require two different medications. At this point, it will develop into a serious infection known as “cysticerosis”. Cysticerosis is documented as affecting more than 50 million people on a global basis, with many cases unrecognized until after autopsies are completed after death.

Another deadly disease from untreated tapeworms is “neurocysticercosis”, where they will affect the central nervous system to cause neurological damage and severe seizures through pork consumption. If left untreated, it can result in visual impairment, headaches, seizures, meningitis, dementia or hydrocephalus with death occurring with severe infections from the dreaded tapeworm.

As a rule, tapeworms in the stomach or abdomen are not felt by the person until things becomes worse, then becoming extremely noticeable. Additionally, the headless bodies of worms will be found in the feces of bowel movements.

  • Extreme discomfort in the abdomen
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Weight loss
  • Tapeworm segments found on clothes or in feces

Signs and symptoms of intestinal tapeworm infection

  • Weight loss
  • Inadequate absorption of food nutrients
  • Weakness
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Loose stools and diarrhea

Signs and symptoms of invasive tapeworm infection

  • This type of tapeworm infection will eventually cause organ/tissue damage
  • Seizures
  • Fever
  • Neurological symptoms or seizures
  • Allergic reactions to the larvae
  • Cystic masses or lumps

Treatments for tape worm infection in humans

Tapeworms respond to both naturopathic and western medical treatments for tapeworm removal in the intestines and abdomen.  Colon cleansing programs with various herbs are quite successful, simultaneously reducing episodes of constipation, reducing chances of diverticulosis, increasing energy levels, and instigating weight loss.

The conventional medical methods for removing the tapeworm embryo involve two different drugs through a doctor’s prescription: albendazole and praziquantel. Remember that all prescription drugs contain serious side effects and very few health benefits, but in severe cases they need to be used for immediate results.

Natural preventive methods for controlling parasites

Grapefruit seeds are wonderful to kill, weaken and repel all kinds of parasites. In fact, the chopped seeds of the fresh grapefruit can be added to those of oranges, lemons, limes, and any citrus fruit, mixed with the feed we eat. Grapefruit seed extract can be added to our pet’s food or our own food to control parasites. If purchased in capsules, one capsule per 10 pounds is excellent for pets. Human dosages will be on the bottle. Corsican seaweed also  makes an excellent tea for repelling parasites in the body. It is a good idea to allow the tea to seep for ten to 20 minutes.


Mayo Clinic: Tapeworms in people

Tapeworm Infection

>> Read more about how to get rid of dog worms here…



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