Fleas and Tapeworms in Cats

If my cat has FLEAS then why would my vet recommend DEWORMING as well as treating for fleas???

The answer lies in the life cycle of the common flea. Fleas can act as an intermediate host for tapeworms ( Dipylidium caninum ) This tapeworm that infects both cats and dogs. Immature Fleas become infected after ingesting tapeworm eggs ( which can be from the ground/carpet/animal sleeping areas). Once these Fleas become adults,  they then can be ingested or swallowed by a cat or dog.  This usually happens when your pet is grooming or licking themselves. The result is a Tapeworm infection in your beloved pet.

Dipyl can worm1.JPG
Dipyl can worm1” by CDC’s Division of Parasitic Diseases (DPD) – http://www.dpd.cdc.gov/dpdx/HTML/Dipylidium.htm. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

What are the signs of tapeworm?

A pet owner usually sees visible segments around your pet’s bum area or fur in that general area!!  Sometimes you may see segments on top of your dog’s poop. These look like pieces of white rice. You may see several or just one. This is why whenever fleas are found on a family pet during a physical exam, we always advise it is best to treat for the fleas along  deworming  for internal parasites just to be safe. It is never harmful to deworm your pet (even if tapeworm is not present). If you wait for segments to appear, an infection is already established! INDOOR cats can be potentially exposed to fleas and tapeworm through contact with mice inside the home. Tapeworms  can also be transmitted to humans. For further information on tapeworm or fleas or ask one of our knowledgeable staff, or checkout our website and these other helpful links:

Dr. Annelle Valentin

Royal York Animal Hospital

4222 Dundas St West, Etobicoke, Ontario

http://www.wormsandgermsblog.com/

 

http://www.capcvet.org/20130918_201534roundworm_infection_1_2009