Greetings, and welcome again to Amelia’s guide to unpleasant pet pests of New Orleans. You may have read my previous post detailing how to rid yourself of a flea infestation. Fleas are prevalent in New Orleans given our warm, damp climate, and unfortunately where fleas thrive you are likely to encounter tape worms. Here is a helpful guide to recognizing the signs of tape worms and the simple steps you can take to rid your pet of them.

How Your Pet Gets Tape Worms

Tape Worms are parasites that live in the intestinal track and feed off of digesting food as it passes through. The way your pets get them is by ingesting a flea that has a tape worm egg in it. Unfortunatly a lot of fleas enter your home with these eggs already inside them, which they get outside. When your pet is scratching and biting at the pesky fleas in their coats, they often eat whole fleas, and the tape worm eggs then hatch in their intestines and make camp.

Recognizing when your pet has tape worms

While the tapes worms live inside your pet’s intestines, they feed off the food your pet eats and digests, and then make their way along the natural path that follows. Tape worms have the signature characteristic breaking off segments of the main worm, which creates small “mini” worms that move independently. It is these sements that are most visibly evident as an indication of tape worm presence. Firstly, these worm segments may make their way down you pet’s intestinal track and emerge from their rectum randomly. Second, multiple segments can be visible on fresh stool from your pet. If you aren’t constantly monitoring your pet’s frest poops or their bum (which is understandable) you may see the after effects of these worm segments being present. When they are fresh, the segments are off-white, and wiggle and move until they dry up once outside the protection of your pet’s innards. Once dry, the segments look like small yellow sesame seeds. Feel free to CLICK HERE and HERE or HERE for NSFW photo examples of both fresh and dried tape worm segments and an example of medication you can get to treat tape worms. 

The most important thing to remember when detecting tape worms in your pet and in your house is that these tape worm segments, whether fresh or dry, also contain tape worm eggs. If these dried segments are ingested, it is possible to pass on the tape worm parasite. Beware, HUMANS ARE ABLE TO GET TAPE WORMS. If you see these dried segments around your house, and aren’t sure if they are sesame seeds or small grains of rice, DO NOT EAT THEM. Also try to keep your other pets from eating them because they could get tape worms too.

Treating Tape Worms

Yes, tape worms are pretty gross. For the most part they don’t hurt your pet or cause them discomfort. Fortunately, the treatment for these unpleasant critters is very easy. The solution is a simple pill remedy, which can be bought at most pet supply stores for around $25.

Treating tape worms can be an easy fix.

Treating tape worms can be an easy fix.

There are varieties for cats and for dogs, and simple instructions can be found on the bottle as to how much of the medicine you should administer to your pet (determined by weight). If your pet has difficulty taking pills, we recommend pill pockets, which are a healthy but delicious covering that makes taking medicine easier on both you and your pets. Some cats are picky eaters, and find a way to eat around a pill pocket and leave the meds behind. In that case, you can pill your cat by opening their jaws and pushing the pill past the front of their tounge to help them swallow. If this doesn’t work for you, Sarah the Pet Sitter offers medication administration for a small fee, to reduce the stress on you and your pet. We have plenty of experience with administering medication to both dogs and cats!

If you have any other questions about tape worms, how to recognize them, or how to get rid of them, feel free to contact Sarah the Pet Sitter for more info!

Amelia Manning
Sarah the Pet Sitter