Tapeworms match their name, and look like long ribbons or pieces of tape. Itchy, unpleasant, and common. Did you know there are actually many species of tapeworm? Some are more common than others, and tapeworm species vary in length and the host species they can infect, but all the tapeworms that can infect your dog will be killed by the tapeworm medication available from your vet.
The most common species of tapeworm that our dogs carry is Dipylidium caninum, which affects dogs more commonly than any other pet. Although Dipylidium caninum is relatively short, usually maxing out at around 50cm, some tapeworm species can become incredible large – the longest species of tapeworm affects whales and can be over 100ft from end to end!
Tapeworms match their name, and look like long ribbons or pieces of tape. They are divided into lots of small segments, which can be up to 1cm each in length in dogs, depending on the tapeworm species.
Adult tapeworms live in the small intestine, and attach to the lining with specialised mouthparts. Here, they sit and absorb nutrients from the gut. Tapeworms reproduce when some of their segments break off. These segments are full of tapeworm eggs, and are passed out in the faeces of your dog. They are often described as looking like moving grains of rice. Other tapeworms found in our UK dogs include Taenia species, and Echinococcus granulosus.