What Are the Different Types of Tapeworm Medicine?

Veterinarians can administer tapeworm medications.
Undetected tapeworm infection can cause stomach pain.
Tapeworm medicine is available in pill form.
A tapeworm is a parasite that lives in a host's intestines.
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  • Written By: Josie Myers
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 11 October 2014
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Tapeworm medicine can be found to treat this parasitic infection in both animals and people. Over-the-counter and prescription medications are available, although most doctors will recommend the stronger dosages that only prescriptions can offer. One of the most common medications used is praziquantel.

Tapeworm infestations are most often caused by fleas. They are not caused by flea bites, however, as some mistakenly believe. Instead, the problem usually arises from eating fleas. Animals who bite at their fleas are the most likely to contract the parasite in this manner, although babies and children are also known to ingest fleas accidentally, or without knowledge of what they are eating. Humans can also be infected by ingesting the meat from an infected animal.

The most common sign of tapeworm infestation is seen in the feces of the infected party. Tapeworms live in the intestinal tract. As they grow, they break off little segments of their body that are called proglottids. These little segments can be seen in the stool of an infected animal. Humans with an infestation are often unaware of it until they notice these same proglottids. Other common signs are diarrhea, slight cramping or abdominal pain, and even weight loss, if the infestation has been allowed to go on for extended periods.

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The most common tapeworm medicine for pets is praziquantel. This drug was formerly only available by prescription, but was made available for public sale for pets in the early 21st century. It can be taken in pill form over-the-counter, or a veterinarian can administer it by injection. The dosage is decided based on the weight of the patient, so many veterinarians prefer to see a pet in person to obtain current weight.

The pill or injection is commonly given only once. Treatments for other types of worms often require two dosages, one to kill the parents and one to kill the hatchlings. Praziquantel does not kill the tapeworm, but dissolves it, eliminating the need for more than one dosage of tapeworm medicine.

Tapeworm medicine for humans differs slightly. The drug albendazole is taken along with the praziquantel. These drugs are capable of producing significant side effects in humans, so anyone taking them must be monitored carefully by their physician. Some of the more mild side effects include dizziness, vomiting, headache, fever, or temporary hair loss. Some more severe ones include allergic reaction, vision problems, bruising, sore throat, stomach pain, and seizures. The alternative to the risky tapeworm medicine is internal tissue damage, and eventual death, and so the medication is necessary.

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Discuss this Article

anon302450
Post 6

I've been to vet for help with my three dogs who've had white flecks in the stool (for a long time).

I first noticed my five year son, who pooped in his underwear, had tiny white pieces and what looked like eggs in his stool.

I took him to the pediatrician, and we thought it was pinworms, got the meds, but they didn't work. Then, the family went to walk-in clinic, and the FNC hadn't even heard of pinworms (let alone tapeworms). She charged us, and sent us home with Vermox.

It's been a week, and I've seen pieces of white rice like bits in his diarrhea stool, and what looks like membrane, half in pieces.

I went to another doctor yesterday, and he said "let's go with what the tests say." He cancelled my original poop test, then had me get another appointment in two months. What? To make sure the eggs travel to my organs and kill me? I am going to treat myself. I can't stand the itching and my dogs are all sick.

anon297396
Post 5

You shouldn't feel like you are bothering your vet. You pay for his services. He should have given your dog the pill when he was in the office. You can request this when you are there. If he needs a second treatment and you have to do it, then wrap your dog in a towel or blanket like a baby and he won't be able to resist since he will be immobile (catch him when he is sleeping so that he is a little disoriented) then hold his nose if you can't open his mouth. This will force him to open his mouth to breathe. Pop his pill towards the back of his mouth and hold his mouth closed and rub his throat gently to make him swallow; it's an automatic response when you rub his throat.

Stay calm and be gentle with him throughout the process and kiss and tell him he is a good dog and he won't think of it as a bad experience. Use the topical solutions or the liquid solutions; they are easier to administer. I always request them from my vet when they offer me pills. If your vet won't accommodate you, change vets. My vet is great and he accommodates me. After all, I'm the one paying the bill. Hope this helps.

ddljohn
Post 3

@ysmina-- I don't have a cat so I don't know. Dogs take medication pretty easily. I just put it in soft snack or a piece of meat and they swallow it. Can't you get the liquid medication and spray it in your cat's mouth?

There are also some herbal alternatives for prescription tapeworm medicine. A friend of mine mentioned once that she uses "clarkia" plant tincture to get rid of parasites in her pets. And it's also used for parasites in humans. I've never tried it though, so I don't know about the risks or benefits.

It might be worth looking into for people who are having trouble with side effects of prescription medicines though.

serenesurface
Post 2

@ysmina-- Yep, you can get tapeworm medicine in liquid form or as a topical solution that you apply on their skin.

I think the topical solution is probably the best way to go for your dog since he'll probably refuse the liquid medication too. I had the same problem with my cat who also smells medications from a mile away! You have no idea what I go through to give her flea treatment tablets.

Anyway, this solution is really great. You can get it online or from your vet. You just part your pet's fur on the back of the neck and squeeze out the solution onto their skin. The medication is absorbed through the skin and enters the blood stream. Worked just fine when my cat had tapeworms.

ysmina
Post 1

I need help about giving tapeworm medication to dogs. My dog has tapeworms and the doctor gave him praziquantel in tablet form. However, I can't get my dog to eat it! I've tried everything. I've put it into a snack, have crushed it and added to his milk. Somehow he smells the medication and refuses to eat. I even tried to force it into his mouth. That didn't work either.

I'm not sure what to do! I know there is a shot for this too, but he also has issues with vet visits. He's extremely scared of them and we just went for tapeworm diagnosis. So I really don't want to drag him back.

Does tapeworm medicine come in any other form? And can I get it online or something? I feel like I'm bothering my vet too much about this already. I would appreciate any information and suggestions on this.

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