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What Are Tapeworms? Tapeworms can conjure up images of a ghastly infestation. There are several types of Tapeworms that reside in the intestines of your dog or cat. They consist of a head and a long flat body made up of segments. This body can be several feet long, if not more. Segments, each having the ability to reproduce, are passed in the animal's feces, leaving the head still attached to the animal's intestinal lining, where it produces new segments. One of the worst case scenarios is that if left untreated, it may become so long that it obstructs the intestines. How Does My Pet Get Tapeworms? Fleas love to eat tapeworm eggs. A larva grows inside of the flea. When your cat or dog eats an infected flea, the larva matures into an adult tapeworm, attaching itself to the animal's intestines where it will continue to grow and thrive. Does My Pet Have Tapeworms? If you see 1/4 inch, whitish worms that may expand and contract in your pet's stool, or cucumber seed-like or rice grain-like dried segments in your pet's bedding area or clinging to the hair around their anus, then your pet is probably infected with tapeworms. Tapeworm infection may not cause any noticeable illness in your pet, but it also may show moderate signs of infection. These symptoms may produce digestive upsets, excessive or decreased appetite (depending on the pet), poor hair and skin coat (possible balding, red areas especially on the rump and feet), weight loss and vague signs of abdominal discomfort. However disgusting it may be to find one of these segments, this is the best form of diagnosis there is.This is because the eggs may not be found upon microscopic examination of the feces by your veterinarian. The worm carries the eggs inside the segments and are not laid in the stool as are other worms' eggs, which is how most intestinal worms are diagnosed. How Do I Treat My Pet For Tapeworms? Treatment for the most common form of tapeworms in pets can be treated by a single injection or oral dosage. There are several different types of dewormers available. If you have an adult cat or kitten over 6 weeks of age, Tapeworm Tabs are the dewormer for you. It removes both types of tapeworms, and is 100% safe and effective. It can be easily mixed with food. Frontline Topspot is a flea and tick control that offers protection for at least one month. They come in 3, 6 and 12 packs. For both your cats and dogs, Frontline Plus provides your pet with the most complete spot-on flea and tick protection available. In addition to killing 98-100% of adult fleas on your pet within 24 hours, Frontline Plus contains a special ingredient that kills flea eggs and larvae, too, and keeps all stages of fleas from developing. An adult flea can lay up to 2,000 eggs in her lifetime. This means a greater risk of your pet contracting tapeworms. With CAPSTAR, by NOVARTIS, almost all of your dog's or cat's adult fleas will be gone within 4 hours. Protect your entire household from fleas. Knockout Room and Area Fogger kills adult fleas and pre-adult fleas, including flea eggs for up to 7 months. Recent studies, stated by Ohio State University, have shown that the efficency rate is better in oral medication than in the injectable, though both are acceptable forms of treatment. As you may know, some animals, (especially cats) don't like taking pills. Also, the quantity of pills needed for a large dog increases the expense. This dose will destroy the tapeworms within 24-48 hrs that are in the body at the time of dosage. Since the eggs reside in the segments themselves, they are all killed along with the segments. This does not mean that a pet will not get reinfected. In fact, if you do not eliminate the intermediate hosts (fleas, lice, etc...) than you may experience the whole cycle again in as little as two weeks. The Key: Control of the Environment 1. Fleas must be eliminated from both the pet and the environment, preferably before bringing them home from the vet. 2. Apply a flea control to your pet. 3. Don't forget to treat the inside and outside, especially the bedding area with a flea control. 4. If your pet is a hunter at heart, don't allow them to eat small rodents or raw fish. 5. For maintainence, use a fine tooth flea comb to inspect for infestation and to destroy stragglers. Remember, even one infected flea can cause tapeworms. You may find it useful to dip the flea comb in rubbing alcohol to stun the fleas. Though this may not be advised for sensitive skin. 6. Vitamin supplements may help your pet restore what nutrients were lost to the tapeworms. Your vet may even give an injectable vitamin to help boost a pet's system more rapidly.
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