Staying safe from tapeworms

Dogs can become infected with tapeworms (Taenia pisiformis, Echinococcus multilocularis, Echinococcus granulosus) by ingesting any number of intermediate hosts. This is especially a concern for urban dogs that spend lots of time around other dogs as well as dogs that spend lots of time outdoors doing things with their owners like hunting, camping, hiking or just living on a farm.1

Many tapeworm infections typically do not cause significant disease in dogs, but can result in:1

  • Intestinal impactions
  • Skin irritation near the anus
  • Scooting

When animals like rabbits, rodents, deer or sheep consume tapeworm eggs from infected grass or soil, the eggs develop into larvae and migrate to form cysts within the animal’s tissues. Dogs become infected when they ingest the larval cysts from these animals. These larvae mature into adults, attach themselves to the lining of the dog’s small intestine and lay packets of eggs, which are shed in the feces.1

If you see what looks like small grains of rice on your dog’s rear or in his feces, there’s a good chance your dog has a tapeworm infection, and you should go see your veterinarian.

Learn about controlling tapeworms