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May 07 2015


We get asked this question a lot:

“My dog/cat has what looks to be dried rice on his back end. What are they?”

These unpleasant remnants are actually tapeworm segments. Tapeworms are long, flat worms that attach themselves to your dog’s (or cat’s) intestines. A tapeworm body consists of multiple parts, or segments, each with its own reproductive organs. Tapeworm infections are usually diagnosed by finding segments—which appear as small white worms that may look like grains of rice or seeds—on the rear end of your dog or cat, in their feces, or where your pet lives and sleeps.

A pet can get tapeworms several different ways. The main way they get them is by ingesting an infected flea. When the infective tapeworm eggs are released into the environment, they have to be swallowed by immature flea larvae in the environment. Once inside the larval flea, the tapeworm egg continues to develop as the flea matures into an adult flea. During grooming or in response to a flea bite, a dog or cat can ingest the tapeworm infected flea and complete the life cycle.

Flea control is critical in the management and prevention of tapeworm infections. Monthly topical or oral meds, such as Nexgard or Frontline, can help kill adult fleas or stop the flea life cycles. It is very important to use the products correctly and continuously during flea season, which in Coon Rapids MN, is becoming almost year round. Talk to your veterinarian about which product would be best for your pet. Reader warning: Some canine flea products can be toxic to cats, so read labels carefully and never apply a dog product to a cat, especially over the counter products!

At the Coon Rapids Pet Hospital, we proudly strive to offer you and your pet the highest quality veterinary services possible.  Serving Coon Rapids, Blaine, Anoka, Andover, Ramsey, Oak Grove, St. Francis and all of the surrounding metro area cities. Please call our office with any questions, comments or concerns regarding your dog or cat.

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