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Tapeworms in Dogs: How Fleas Can Be to Blame

More Problems Caused by Fleas

By Matt Popkin. January 01, 2011 | See Comments

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    PetCareRx Staff Veterinarian

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Tapeworms in Dogs: How Fleas Can Be to Blame

If you thought fleas couldn't get any more annoying than they already are, think again.

You may think that the only harm a flea can do is cause your pet some discomfort, but all that scratching can lead to something far more sinister. That’s right, having a flea-infested pet can lead to tapeworms in your dog! Here’s how:

Fleas Carry the Tapeworm Larvae

The most common type of tapeworm for dogs, Dipylidium caninum, uses fleas as an intermediate host, meaning that fleas carry tapeworm eggs inside their bodies.This happens when fleas, still in their larvae stage, swallow tapeworm eggs themselves.

Your Dog Bites at its Fleas

That means when your dog bites at its fleas, it can end up swallowing one that is carrying those tapeworm eggs! Once inside your pet, the tapeworm hatches and attaches itself to your dog’s intestines. The parasite can then cause weight loss, vomiting, and irritation.

How to Tell If Your Dog Has a Tapeworm

You can tell if your dog has a tapeworm if you see moving, white objects on your pet’s skin or in their stool. Don’t worry! There are effective treatments for the parasite. But wouldn’t you rather your dog just never had to deal with tapeworms in the first place?

Help make that possible by treating your pet for fleas! Consider this: Even if you treat your pet for tapeworms after they are infected, your dog could contract another one of the parasites just as easily by biting at and swallowing another flea, just like they did the first time.

The only way to end this cycle is to keep your pet pest-free. Just another reason to treat your dog for fleas!

More Flea and Tick Control Advice

My Dog Still Has Fleas! What to Do When The Medicine Isn’t Working
What Does a Flea Bite Look Like?
Dog Hot Spots: What is Flea Allergy Dermatitis?

This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your veterinarian with respect to your pet. It has, however, been verified by a licensed veterinarian for accuracy.

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