Parasitic Worm Question

Child of Noah

6 Years
Mar 12, 2013
Upstate New York
My dog has been sick. Today, she pooped and it had moving orzo pasta inside.
I was actually happy to see it (as well as grossed out) because now I knew what was wrong and could get it fixed.
I took the sample to the vet to have it tested to see what types of eggs and parasites were in it, since I am no expert.
They told me it was tapeworms, which I would not have guessed based on descriptions of tapeworms (I imagined them much flatter).
I will be giving my cats the de-wormer as well, not that they have shown any symptoms, but just to be on the safe side considering they all sleep in the same house.
The vet gave me Virbantel to get rid of my dog's tapeworms.

Of course tapeworms are transmitted by ingesting them. And I might imagine moving orzo pasta could look pretty tasty to my free range chickens.

The vet says to keep all areas free from feces to avoid re-contamination. My chickens free range and my dog poops in the woods. It's a nearly impossible task. My vet is a cat-and-dog vet, and didn't know about chickens. I have read that chickens can get tapeworms, but then there seems to be conflicting information on what types on animals can get what species of tapeworms (for example sheep don't get the tapeworms that dogs get).

So... can my chickens get my dog's tapeworms?
Will the (hen) eggs be infected?

What should I do?
Tapeworms all have a very complex life cycle.. The moving rice-grain objects in the dog's poo are egg sacks. The critter who eats the eggs gets the next phase; cysts in their tissues. Some tapeworms need a third host like a snail. earthworm or crayfish. The critter who eats the cysts (in muscle ) then gets the long ribbon-like visible "worm' in the gut, that sheds those rice-grain segments. UGH! Mary
Folly's place, that is some interesting and repulsive information. It definitely clears up my confusion about the appearance of the white things in my dogs poop.

Judy thank you! That is a relief that I don't have to dose each chicken! It does lead me to a follow-up question... since my (indoor) cats don't have symptoms, do you think I have to deworm them? I assumed that they would have picked it up from the dog. But if I understand you correctly, she can only give it to other dogs?
There is no direct transmission of the 'worm' phase of the tapeworms. Dogs and cats get them either from eating fleas (a host for certain tapeworm cysts) or eating raw meat. That includes mice, crayfish, grocery store meat, or many wild critters. If your pet eats the segments, he will get the cystic phase in tissues. Most types of tapeworms are relatively harmless, but some do cause severe disease. One of the many reasons cooked meat is better!!! Mary
Worming chickens; it depends. Some flocks won't have issues, while flocks in other locations might have big problems. Same thing about external parasites. Healthy well fed uncrowded birds will do better than stressed birds, and when breeding it's vital to select tough healthy birds as parents. On the other hand, if a serious infestation happens, treating it makes sense and is the humane thing to do. Mary
Soil conditions determine how often birds need to be wormed. If their feet touch the ground, they'll get worms eventually. Warm moist/wet soil may require frequent wormings, soil that is cool, mountainous/rocky or desertlike may only require worming once a year or longer.
Actually I think you''ve gotten a good idea of the spectrum of reasonable approaches here. Personally, I worm once a year, with Valbazen at present. I feel certain they needed it the first time, at least, just from the fact that their feed consumption dropped yet they gained weight within a few weeks. People do have good successes only using long term breeding and selecting for disease resistance, though. And there's no doubt that many newer chicken keepers have productive flocks without chemical worming.

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