tapeworm
Image by calm_lu from Pixabay

OMG I saw my dog licking his butt and there was a little white wiggly thing sticking out. I pulled on it and realized it was a worm!!! AAAAAAH that is so gross! …and once you get past this part of the discovery, you realize that your dog has some kind of worm. Any kind of worm sign should be investigated by your vet so it can be properly diagnosed. Typically this kind of worm is a tape worm.

What are tapeworms?

Tapeworms are intestinal parasites that can be in cats or dogs. They can reach up to 11 inches long and are passed in your dog’s poo. Often times they look like grains of rice or cucumber seeds when appearing in your dog poo.

Your dog gets tapeworms from fleas. The tapeworm must be eaten by a flea before it can infect your dog, this is why your dog does not have to come into contact with other dogs to get tapeworm. Fleas travel! In case you were on the fence about getting your dog on a Frontline Flea and Tick Treatment regiment, tapeworms just gave you another reason to be proactive against fleas and their cohorts. When your dog ingests the infected flea the tapeworm egg is released and then hatches in your dog’s intestines.

Are tapeworms dangerous or just gross?

Thankfully they are mostly gross. They do not typically cause serious health problems. They can be irritating to your dog and in response your dog may drag hit butt on the carpet or lick his anus a lot to calm the irritation. If you see scooting, you should take your dog to your Albuquerque vet to see if they have worms or impacted anal sacs.

What is the treatment?

Deworming is very easy. Typically your vet will give you an oral treatment to give to your dog. In some cases, they may give an injection. The best way to treat tapeworm is to prevent it. It is time to get your Frontline regiment in place!

To pull or not to pull

If you see a little worm hanging out of your dog’s butt, you do not need to pull it out. If you do pull it out, you are not likely pulling out the entire worm, as it will most likely break. And where you find one you will find more. Just because you pulled one worm do not think that you got them all, there are more where that came from. If you pull off a part of a worm put it in a plastic baggie and save it for your vet. If you see poo with worm sign, then put some of the poo in a plastic baggie. Bringing evidence of worm will help with the diagnosis and could prevent a need for further testing.