Little White Things on my Dog's Butt? And Crawling in Her Poop! Tapeworms!

White Wormy Critters on GG's Butt

I'd thought I saw something, but I figured it was something GG brushed against when she was peeing.  But there it was again and I didn't see anything she might have hit.  So I looked closer and the little white things, the size of a grain or rice or smaller, were there.  And when I picked up GG's poop, there were tiny white worms wriggling around.  This poop was clearly a saver, not something to chuck in the trash barrell.  I took it home, put the bag in a zip plastic bag, put the bags into a tupperware and put the lot into the fridge to stay fresh until the vet's office opened and I could run it over to the vet's with GG.

GG and I went to the vet's with her poop later that morning.  Oddly, the vet didn't find little white critters in the poop even though she said she dug around pretty thoroughly.  She diagnosed GG with tapeworms based on my description.  Then she took a quick look at GG's butt and there they were, little white buggers, officially tapeworms. 

The vet explained that GG probably got tapeworms from fleas at some point, or from eating a rodent or poop containing the eggs.  We were told that she probably had them since she was a puppy and based upon the life cycle of the tapeworm, certainly since before we adopted her in January.  Yes, we use flea and tick medication (Advantix) and no we've never seen fleas on GG or Plato.  We learned that tapeworms live in the small intestines of dogs where they fasten their heads and develop.  The tapeworm body has segments with egg packets which were what I saw in GG's poop and on her butt. 

GG and I were sent home with a deworming medication called Drontal Plus which we were assured would be an easy fix and which was pretty inexpensive.  Our other dog Plato was treated "just in case".  GG's poop was sent to an outside lab for analysis, just to make sure that she didn't have other parasites.  I was told to do a good vacuuming job anywhere where the dogs might have been laying down and to wash their bedding.  That wasn't so bad.   But I wasn't happy to find dried white things (like sesame seeds) in GG's bed.  Yuck.  I was pleased to learn that it's rare for the worms to be transmitted to humans but that to be safe, good hand washing would be in order.  The next day, I got a call.  "Did you find anything?", I asked cheerfully.  The vet's answer was not what I expected.  GG also has lungworm!  Not as easy a fix as tapeworms.  And much pricier.  Stay tuned for the next post of  Attack of the lungworms.

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