Dog Tape Worms
Tapeworm infestation, also called taeniasis, is a disease just as is any one of the ailments caused by bacteria, though its effects need is not serious.
In small numbers, tapeworms produce few ill effects, but when large numbers infest a dog they can make it sick dog showing symptoms of nervousness, restlessness, and sometimes irritability. Because human beings are thought to have an increased appetite when they harbor tapeworms (it is doubtful if they do), dogs also are generally expected to be hungrier. But they are not. Dogs usually lose their desire for food to some extent when they are infested with many tapeworms. Owners constantly bring their pets to veterinarians and tell us that the dogs must have tapeworms because their appetites are so enormous. Usually, these prove to be healthy puppies, not sick dogs.
LARVAE EATSP ROGLOMD
Life history of the flea-host tapeworm. Above left, mature worm (life-size); it often grows to be eighteen inches long. Above right, capsule with eggs, magnified one hundred and fifty times.
There are a dozen segments, you may have an examination made and receive a negative report. Your veterinarian studies the stool for eggs, and if the tapeworm has lost no segment in the specimen being examined, he or she won’t find any. Finding segments is the only effective way to determine the presence of this worm.
Fleas and biting lice are the intermediate hosts of the common tape-worm. When fleas are in their larval stage, they feed on tapeworm segments among other foods. The eggs from these segments develop into tapeworm larvae as the flea matures. If a dog ingests the flea, the tapeworm larva is released and attaches itself to the intestinal wall, where it remains and grows.
THE RABBIT-HOST TAPEWORM (TAENIA PISIFORMIS): The rabbit-host tapeworm is a coarser worm than the flea-host tapeworm. Sometimes five to six feet long, its segments are larger and more active. The intermediate very host is the rabbit or hare. This tapeworm lays many eggs that pass out of the dog in the stool and clings to vegetation. Rabbits eating the vegetation become infested. The larvae work into the liver of the rabbits to develop, and from there into the abdominal cavity, where they attach themselves to intestines in small cysts. When a dog eats an infected rabbit, it too soon becomes infested.
Tapeworms can cause such loss of condition that the dog has convulsions; its coat may become thin, and its digestion is disturbed. There is often a marked tendency to vomit small amounts enough to be a source of worry as well as a nuisance to a house dog. Occasionallysegments of the worms lodge in the anal glands and irritate, that the dog pulls itself along on its rear quarters.
Detection of segments of tapeworms on the dog’s stool is the most certain method of determining the presence of the pest. A fecal examination may be made, but in the case of the flea-host worm, it is not conclusive even when done by a thoroughly competent technician. They tend to retain their eggs, and the examination of any particular tool may not show evidence of infestation even when the worms are present in the dog.
There are two general kinds of tapeworms the armed and the unarmed. The armed have suckers and hooks with which they cling, while the unarmed arc is equipped with only a pair of grooves that hold to the intestinal lining. A large armed tapeworm has powerful devices that enable the worm to hold fast despite all of the pull exerted on it by the passing food. It seems almost impossible that the little head can hold all of the worms, yet that is what it does. Besides the host in which they spend most of their existence, all tapeworms require an intermediate host and, in some cases, two such hosts. All are composed of a head which is added to a series of flat segments, joined one to another.
THE FLEA-HOST TAPEWORM (DIPYLIDIUM CANINUM): The most common tapeworm of our pets, the flea-host tapeworm occurs in dogs, foxes, and cats. It is about a foot long. The head is smaller than a small pinhead and the segments close to the head are stretched to the thinness of a thread. This section is called the neck. As the worm grows, the segments become wider and shorter. The last few segments are again longer and contain eggs. When ripe, these segments are shed and passed out with the stool. If no stool is present, the segment is moved downward and out of the anus, where it may cling until it dries into a mall, brownish, seed-like grain that drops from the pet.
The eggs are not extruded without considerable pressure to the segment; then they appear in capsules and look, under a microscope, like bunches of grapes. When your veterinarian makes a fecal examination and tells you that your dog is free of worms, do not blame him or her for not detecting the presence of tapeworms.
It is rare to find pork, beef, and sheep tapeworms in city pets. These tapeworms have been reported as long as fifteen feet. In the country dogs, whirls may feast on the carcasses of dead dogs, infestations may occur. Hogs, cattle, or sheep that have fed in pastures where human excreta has been deposited can eat grass to which tapeworm eggs cling. The dog eats flesh from this dog and becomes infested by the cysts containing the tapeworm heads. In the North a tapeworm, Tania Rabbi infests dogs that eat infested reindeer muscle.
THE RODENT-HOST TAPEWORM (TAENIA TAENIAFORMIS): Widely distributed, the rodent-host tapeworm probably does its worst damage to tomcats. Rats, mice, squirrels, muskrats, and other rodents may act as intermediate hosts. The heads in the cysts develop in their livers and remain dormant until eaten by a dog. Cats are the most likely pets to suffer from this parasite and indirectly spread it to dogs.
THE HYDATID TAPEWORM (ECHINOCOCCUS GRANULOSIS): This unique parasite, the hydrated tapeworm, is dangerous because it does damage the torso of many species of dogs. It infests many pets that eat meat. As intermediate hosts, most dogs, including men, can be infested if by any chance the eggs are ingested.
The embryos bore through the intestines to the bloodstream and are transported to various organs where they become cysts that may measure three inches in diameter. The lining of the cyst produces numerous brood capsules in which heads are formed. A brood capsule may contain as many as forty heads six months after infestation. If a dog eats an organ infested with the hydrated he eats many heads, and in less than two months the worms that develop from the heads are laying more eggs to infest another dog which inadvertently consumes them. here are three unarmed tapeworms that are important to dog owners.
A human harboring the tapeworm passes the eggs in feces which are dumped via sewers into a lake. Small crustaceans cat the eggs. In the first type, fish eat the crustaceans; in the latter two types, amphibians, such as frogs, or mammals that swallow the crustaceans can be the second host. Of course, dogs that eat the fish or frogs or infested mammals become infested in turn. Raw whitefish, trout, salmon, pike, and perch have all been responsible for passing the cysts of these huge worms to pets.
Some of these worms have three to four thousand segments and at their widest maybe half an inch or even more across.
See more: Dog Toxoplasmosis
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