Tapeworms (Dipylidium caninum) in Dogs and Cats

The adult tapeworm lives in the small intestine of the dog or cat. A pet gets tapeworms from fleas or by eating critters that have fleas on them. Controlling fleas is essential to prevent recurring tapeworm infections. Pets that spend time hunting may be at a higher risk for a tapeworm infection. Although a tapeworm is usually several inches long, they usually break apart when passed from the body and look like small pieces of rice. It is common to find them around the pet’s rectum. We recommend testing your pet’s stool at least once a year to monitor for intestinal parasites.

Only one treatment is needed to kill the tapeworms in the body; however, some pets should be treated 3-4 times a year depending on their lifestyle.