The ABCs of Tapeworm treatment and prevention (Sponsored by Virbac Animal Health)

The ABCs of Tapeworm treatment and prevention (Sponsored by Virbac Animal Health)

Tapeworm prevention—why not?
Apr 01, 2009
By staff


Of all internal parasites, one of the most disgusting for clients to discover on their pets are the white tell-tale signs of tapeworms. "Tapeworm segments, when passed in feces, are more repugnant to pet owners than roundworms," says Byron L. Blagburn, MS, PhD, with Auburn University's College of Veterinary Medicine in Auburn, AL. And when pet owners find them, they want them gone—fast.

But thanks to the development of certain broad-spectrum parasiticides, practitioners can now treat the worms on a monthly basis, sparing clients the nasty surprise of discovering tapeworm segments on their dogs.

"The regular use of a product that contains praziquantel (along with ivermectin and pyrantel pamoate) can help control tapeworms and multiple other parasite species, and offers monthly heartworm prevention," Blagburn says. These products are an easy and effective solution to what can be a messy client issue.


Identifying tapeworm infections can be complicated because pets may not show any clinical signs. However, if clinical signs are present, they commonly include:

  • segments in hair coat, on bedding, or elsewhere
  • excessive licking of the perineum (perianal pruritus)
  • scooting on rear end.


When pets are receiving heartworm prevention with a gastrointestinal dewormer added, you might wonder why you're seeing tapeworms. The active ingredient to prevent heartworms in heartworm medication is not effective against tapeworms. And praziquantel, a drug specifically designed to treat and prevent tapeworms, won't treat other types of intestinal parasites. However, using a once-monthly preventive that contains praziquantel, ivermectin, and pyrantel pamoate will fight multiple parasites, protecting dogs from tapeworms, heartworms, roundworms, and hookworms.*

All dogs should be tested for heartworm infection before starting a preventative program. Following the use of IVERHART MAX® , digestive and neurological side effects have rarely been reported. Use with caution in sick, debilitated, or underweight dogs weighing less than 10 lbs. See brief summary for additional information.

* Virbac Animal Health's IVERHART MAX® is a broad-spectrum, once-a-month internal parasite preventative. Please consult package insert for complete product information. Indications: For use in dogs to prevent canine heartworm disease by eliminating the tissue stage of heartworm larvae (Dirofilaria immitis) for a month (30 days) after infection and for the treatment and control of roundworms (Toxocara canis, Toxascaris leonina), hookworms (Ancylostoma caninum, Uncinaria stenocephala, Ancylostoma braziliense), and tapeworms (Dipylidium caninum, Taenia pisiformis).