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Tapeworm, anyone?

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
Ah, the joys of parasites in the springtime .

Last Thursday, I needed to bring my girl, Delaney, for her second vet appointment so that they could follow-up on her recovery from an upper respiratory infection (possibly herpes) as well as determine whether she was healthy enough to receive her final core vaccinations. However, when I arrived and removed her from her carrier, it became blatantly obvious that she had a worm attached to the fur around her anus. The vet tech quickly was able to remove it and the vet immediately diagnosed Delaney with having a tapeworm(s) . I was informed that the tapeworm was transmitted via the little buggers we all love -- fleas . I adopted Delaney from a local shelter about 2 months ago and while she was treated with Frontline Plus at the shelter prior to her adoption, she came from a neglect situation and was most likely exposed to fleas and the parasite in her original home. Thankfully, we were at the vet when the worm was noticed, but, alas, it still was not something I was expecting and it's certainly not something that I'd like to come across again.

The vet prescribed Droncit for Delaney and gave her the first tablet while we were in the office. The second tablet is given after 2 weeks so she will receive the final pill a week from tomorrow. We opted to bring home medication for Cassidy as a precaution and she, too, will receive her last dose next week. I've seen no more evidence of the tapeworm(s) and have cleaned thoroughly since the diagnosis, but is there something else I should be doing in order to ensure that there is no risk for reinfestation?

All of my animals, with the exception of the bird, are on a monthly flea and tick preventative. My dogs receive Revolution and my cats are on Advantage. And although I had not seen evidence of the tapeworm prior to the vet visit, the vet informed me that individual segments (called proglottids) most likely had been being excreted in Delaney's feces and potentially may have dropped on to the floor. It's my understanding that a flea needs to complete the life cycle of the tapeworm and that the cats (and dogs) cannot get tapeworms without first ingesting affected fleas. I know, with as much certainty as possible, that we do not have fleas in the home, but it is always a possibility that my dogs will bring in a flea from outside. Therefore, I've gone ahead and made sure to clean the litter boxes daily (and will continue to do so until after they receive their final dose of Droncit next week), vacuum daily, and use proper hygiene. The vet said it was unlikely that any of my other animals had been affected, or would be infected, but I'm cautious and would prefer to avoid reinfestation. That being said, is there anything I should be doing that I'm not?

Thankfully I've not seen any further evidence of Laney's tapeworm or of the proglottids, but I am keeping a watchful eye and will contact the vet immediately should anything change. As I said earlier, the girls will receive their final dose of Droncit a week from tomorrow and then, hopefully, we'll be free and clear of these icky parasites . I just want to know whether I am missing something or if I need to expand my cleaning repertoire. Any advice, experience, or suggestions?

It's just another reason to make sure to always use monthly flea prevention and proper husbandry when dealing with our furry loved ones...
post #2 of 3
Sounds like you've covered all the bases! It does in fact take the ingestition of an infested flea to cause a cat to get tapeworms, they cannot get them from sharing a litter box with another cat who has tapeworms.

I dealt with this last summer so I know how annoying it can be.

post #3 of 3
Same exact thing happened to us at the vet today. Tech quickly spied a small tapeworm on one of my kitties' butt. I had the option of a one time injection or a topical ointment. We are going with the ointment. My kitties came from a shelter just about a month ago. Got home and I applied their first treatment of Advantage. Yep, I got the flea prevention train quick!
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