By Jennifer Copley (Last Updated 6 December 2011)
Tapeworms have segmented, flat bodies. The segments, which look like grains of rice, break off and emerge through the anus. These egg-filled segments dry out and burst, and the released eggs become food for flea larvae. When a cat or dog consumes an adult flea during grooming, the young tapeworm is transferred to the animal’s intestine where it matures.
Can People Catch Tapeworms from Pets?
The most common type of tapeworm (Dipylidium)is spread only via fleas. Other types can be contracted by eating infected raw meat (whether as prey or from a supermarket) or feces. When humans (most commonly children) become infected, it’s usually because they have accidentally swallowed fleas that contain tapeworm larvae.
Symptoms and Treatment of Worms in Cats and Dogs
For symptoms of intestinal worms, as well as treatments and ways to protect your pets and human family members against infestation, see Symptoms, Treatments, and Prevention of Intestinal Worms.
This article is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for veterinary consultation and care.
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