What are Tapeworms?
Tapeworms are parasites that live inside a dog’s small intestine. They can range from less than one inch to several feet in length. Dogs get tapeworms when they eat an intermediate host that has tapeworm eggs, larvae or cysts inside it. The intermediate host can be a bird, fish, reptile, sheep, cow, goat, deer, elk, horse, pig, rabbit or rat. Fleas and lice also carry tapeworm eggs. Tapeworms bury into the sensitive lining of a dog’s intestine, feeding on blood and sucking up essential nutrients slowly and steadily over a long period of time. Adult tapeworms develop egg packets, which eventually break off and are passed out in the dog’s feces. These egg packets can move on their own, which is a bit creepy to see. Tapeworms usually don’t cause many symptoms in dogs, other than occasional stomach aches, anal itchiness, butt scooting and weight loss. Owners may see tapeworm segments crawling around their dog’s rear end. They look like grains of rice or sesame seeds.