IF A CAT HAS WORMS (THINKING TAPEWORMS) IS IT POSSIBLE FOR A DOG TO GET IT FROM THE CAT?
Excellent question! Tapeworms are internal parasites that we often diagnose by seeing the small white segments of the worm, resembling grains of rice, around the rear end of an animal. Tapeworms are a unique parasite in our dogs and cats that require an intermediate host to be transmitted. This means that an animal or person cannot pick up tapeworms by being in contact with an infected animal or even their feces. Instead, the tapeworm must actually infect an intermediate host, typically a flea or small rodent, and this small host must then be then eaten to cause an infection. So, in this case, a cat with tapeworms is not directly infectious to you or to other animals. However, I would recommend contacting your veterinarian for tapeworm treatment. To prevent tapeworms in the future, it is important to keep your pet on a high quality flea preventative and, if possible, to reduce rodent consumption. Now, other internal parasites such as roundworms, hookworms, and giardia are more directly infectious to other animals and people. Therefore, we recommend having routine fecal parasite screenings performed at least one to two times per year to ensure our pets are healthy and not carrying any unwanted friends.
Submitted by: Dr. Stephanie Edwards