Canis ISSN: 2398-2942

Dipylidium caninum

Synonym(s): D. caninum

Contributor(s): Stephen Barr

Introduction

Classification

Taxonomy

  • Class: Cestoda.
  • Family: Dilepididae.
  • Genus: Dipylidium.

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Clinical Effects

Epidemiology

Habitat

  • Adult tapeworm in the small intestine of the dog, other Canidae, Felidae, and rarely children.
  • Segments and eggs in the environment, particularly in areas where the dog sleeps.
  • Metacestode (cysticercoid) in the body cavity of the flea, primarily Ctenocephalides felis, and chewing louse, Trichodectes canis.

Lifecycle

  • See lifecycle diagram Lifecycle Dipylidium caninum - diagram :
    • Adult tapeworm.
    • Gravid proglottid.
    • Egg.
    • Cysticercoid.

Transmission

Transmission to flea/louse
  • Segments migrate out of anus and around perianal area. Can be eaten by chewing lice in this area.
  • Segments fall to the ground, particularly where the dog spends time resting.
  • Flea eggs also fall off the dog to the ground in these areas Lifecycle Ctenocephalides canis - diagram.
  • Flea larvae attracted to eat segment as a source of protein.
Transmission to dog
  • Infected adult flea parasitises dog.
  • Dog accidentally ingests the adult flea or louse containing a cysticercoid when grooming itself.
  • Some dogs may show hypersensitivity to flea bites which will result in increased grooming and thus increase the likelihood of ingesting a flea.

Pathological effects

  • Not known.
  • Little protective immunity develops in the dog.
  • Some flea species, eg Ctenocephalides canis, or at the least some strains of it, destroy most cysticercoids by a hemocyte (cellular) and humoral response.
  • No 'immunity' appears to develop in Ctenocephalides felis.
  • The presence of 1 or many tapeworms, even several hundred, usually has little effect on the health of a well-fed dog.
  • Irritation of a segment spontaneously migrating from the anus can cause 'scooting'.
  • Dog infected with D. caninum will concurrently be infected with fleas or lice and is likely to show pruritus associated with the hypersensitivity response to the ectoparasites.
  • Large numbers of worms could reduce growth rates in young, poorly nourished dog - rare Tapeworm in a dogs intestine.
  • Very rarely, obstruction of the intestine from many hundreds of worms can occur.

Control

Control via animal

Control via chemotherapies

Either Praziquantel Praziquantel.
Or Nitroscanate Nitroscanate.
Or Dichlorophen Dichlorophen.
The benzimidazoles are not very effective against D. caninum even though they are effective against Taenia spp tapeworms.

Control via environment

Diagnosis

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Boreham R E & Boreham P F L (1990) Dipylidium caninum: life cycle, epizootiology, and control. Comp Cont Educ Pract Vet 12 (5), 667-675 VetMedResource.

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