What is in the poop?
One of our clients noticed something that looked like small white worms in her dog’s stool. She brought us the sample and the “worms” were short, white and flat.   We suspected tapeworm so we put it on a glass slide to take a look with the microscope. It was indeed tapeworm. This type of tapeworm is called Dipylidium Caninum which is sometimes called the flea tapeworm. Pets typically become infected by ingesting fleas while scratching or grooming themselves. Once ingested they live in the intestinal tract of the pet. The “worms” the client saw were actually segments or egg packets which are shed by the tapeworm and make their way outside of the pet’s body.  Your pet can also get tapeworm from hunting mice and other small rodents that have fleas. The flea is a part of the tapeworm life cycle. Most of the time tapeworm infection does not cause serious illness in a healthy animal. It can cause soft stool or diarrhea. People will see these segments (which when dried out look like pieces of rice) on their pet’s back end or in areas where their pet has been lying down. We treat an animal if we see the segments outside of the body or if they have a history of having fleas or hunting. It is rare to see the tapeworm egg on a normal fecal test. There is a dewormer for tapeworm, but if your pet gets fleas the cycle can start. Having your pet on a good quality flea product will help protect against tapeworm. We offer 10% off of flea control here at The Hardwick Veterinary Clinic through April, May and June.