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Tapeworms are particularly common in animals that hunt or scavenge.

Third on our parasites tour is the Tapeworm.

There are actually lots of different types of tapeworm that affect our pets. All of them are passed on through the pet eating another infected animal (called an intermediate host). These include:

  • rodents for Taenia and Echinococcus multilocularis
  • fleas for Dipyllidium tapeworms
  • ruminants (sheep or cattle) for Echinococcus granulosus and Taenia multiceps
Dog scratching
Fleas transmit tapeworms
sheep
Dogs that are walked around livestock are at particular risk of tapeworm

Taenia and Dipyllidium worms can cause irritation of the bowel in pets and malabsorption of food.  Taenia tapeworm can also cause neurological disease in livestock and humans.

Echinoccocus tapeworms are a serious disease risk to people, causing large cancer-like cysts to develop in the liver and other organs. Echinococcus multilocularis is particularly dangerous and is not in the UK at this time. This is what the tapeworm treatment 24-120 hours before return to the UK via the Pet Travel Scheme aims to prevent.

A Taenia tapeworm in intestine
A Taenia tapeworm
A hydatid cyst
An Echinoccoccus granulosus cyst under microscope

It is important to treat travelled pets again within one month of return to the UK

Animals which hunt or scavenge, or are fed raw meat, are at high risk of tapeworms and should be treated every 1-3 months. Animals with fleas will also need frequent tapeworm treatment until the fleas are under control.

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If you would like a personalised parasite risk assessment for your pet, please fill in the relevant questionnaire below.  This service costs £15, or is included in all wellbeing visit costs.  Once your questionnaire has been submitted, we will email you a link for payment.  Once payment is received, we will email your pet’s personalised advice within 2 working days.

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