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Cats are the definitive host for this tapeworm but dogs can become infected through ingestion of rodents (intermediate hosts). Gravis segments containing eggs are passed in feces of dogs and ingested by rodent and hatch in its gut. The hexacanth larva makes its way through the gut wall to the liver where it matures to the infectious second-stage larvae (strobilocerci, cysticerci, coenuri; these are fluid-filled cysts often called a bladder-worm).
When ingested by the dog, the second-stage larvae attaches to the intestinal epithelium via the protoscolex. The rest of the larva is digested away and the tapeworm begins to grow. The pre-patent period is between 36 and 42 days.
Species which have been reported in dogs include:
- Taenia multiceps (forms coeunuri)
- Taenia ovis (forms cysticerci)
- Taenia pisiformis (forms cysticerci)
- Taenia saginata (forms cysticerci)
- Taenia serialis
- Taenia hydatigena
- Taenia crassiceps
Most dogs are asymptomatically infected and co-infections with other parasites is very common.
Rare cases of subcutaneous cysticercosis have been reported in dogs.
Diagnosis is usually ascertained on coprological evidence of taenia eggs, but PCR assays are now available.
- American Museum of Natural History
- Bowman, DD et al (2003) Feline clinical parasitology. Iowa University Press, Iowa. pp:211-215
- Bowman, DD (2009) Georgis' parasitology for veterinarians. 9th edn. Elsevier Saunders, Missouri
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