Can a Human Catch Tapeworm from Dogs?

Can humans catch tapeworm from dogs? The answer to this question is both yes and no, and in this blog I will explain why. First, let"s take a look at what tapeworms are and why they are a problem.

The Tapeworm and Your Pet

The name tapeworm is given to several species of parasitic worm, including Dipylidium caninum, Echinococcus and Taenia. Tapeworms live inside their host's digestive system, attaching themselves to the gut wall with a hooked head. As food passes through the host animal's intestine, the worm absorbs it and grows, thus depriving the host of essential nutrients. A mature tapeworm has a segmented body and each of the segments carries the eggs which continue the life-cycle of the parasite. The worm will shed segments of its body from time to time, and these are expelled from of host's body with its faeces. When exposed to the environment, the worm segments can then be passed to another animal.

How Dogs Catch Tapeworm

Dogs can catch tapeworm in a variety of ways, which means that pet owners need to be very strict in following a regular treatment with a dewormer One of the most common tapeworm, Dipylidium caninum, is passed to dogs by fleas. Fleas can carry tapeworm eggs, and if a dog accidentally ingests an infected flea, it can catch a tapeworm. Dogs can also become infected by tapeworm if they eat raw meat or offal, especially from wild animals such as deer.

How Humans Catch Tapeworm From Dogs

Now that you understand how dogs catch tapeworm, let"s assume that your pet has somehow become infected by this parasite. Can you catch tapeworm from your pet and how? Actually, you cannot catch tapeworm directly from your dog, but you can become infected by coming into contact with tapeworm eggs. One of the most common routes of infection is through contact with an infected animal"s faeces, gardening, clearing ground or playing in a sandpit. Children tend to be more susceptible than adults because they touch their faces and put their hands in their mouths more often. Unwashed vegetables grown in soil where animals have passed faeces or where wild animals may have grazed can also carry worm eggs. In humans, tapeworm do not develop into mature worms, but instead can form a dangerous cyst which may need surgery to be removed. This means that it is really important to make sure that everyone from the youngest to the oldest member of your family follows good hand-washing and hygiene after working outdoors and playing or grooming pets. You should also be responsible about clearing up your dog's poop, both around your home and in your neighborhood to prevent the spread of disease.