Are These Tiny Worms Tapeworms?

This sounds like a rare question: What is this sesame seed-sized worm in my dog bed? But at Hometown Veterinary Hospital, it seems like we hear it at least once a month. I’ve also heard it described as looking like a grain of rice.

What is it? A  tapeworm -- a long flat parasite that lives in the intestines.

Owners most often find them in the pet bed, on the animal’s rear end, or in the feces. They are a long parasite but we most commonly see them when they are shedding. This shedding appears as a piece the size of rice or sesame seed.

Tapeworms use the flea, small rodents and deer as hosts. Once we see your pet with a tapeworm ,there is a strong chance that a flea was the contributing factor. They usually don’t cause the animal any illness. The risk to humans is very low because the species that can cause illness isn’t in the United States.

Management of this parasite: Dr. Kara Amstutz and Dr. Grace Woodrell can prescribe a prescription treatment to get rid of the tapeworm.


At this time, we will also discuss preventative options for flea control. Flea control products such Comfortis, Capstar and Parastar are available at Hometown Veterinary Hospital. Monthly application or administration is the best option. Monthly heartworm prevention such as Sentinel & Trifexis for dogs and Revolution for cats provide monthly long term flea control.