A flea infected with a tapeworm larva is the main way pets get tapeworm. Drinking from stagnant water is another way. Once the parasitic larva is inside the animal’s body, it attaches itself to the intestinal wall. The first indicator a pet owner will have that their pet might have tapeworm is the animal dragging its bottom on the ground. Tapeworm makes an animal’s bottom itch. The feces will contain whole worms or rice-like pieces which are excreted segments of the existing tapeworm. An animal with tapeworm will often vomit up smaller tapeworms too.
Accidental contact with the tapeworm through the vomit or feces of the animal can lead to a human infection too. Humans with tapeworm report a vastly increased appetite accompanied by persistent weight loss. Treatment with deworming mediation is necessary for pets and humans. Small children are susceptible to tapeworm infestations and should be carefully monitored. Pets should be dewormed regularly.