Our team continues to be here for you and your cherished pets. We are OPEN and are now able to provide a wide range of services. To learn more about the changes we have implemented in response to COVID-19 and what to expect during your next visit, click here.

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Tapeworms – FAQs

How do pets get tapeworms?

A tapeworm segment is a packet of eggs that a pet eats by accident when it is eating something else. The “something else” is an intermediate host for the tapeworm. There are two kinds of tapeworm, with different hosts. One kind lives in the gut of fleas. When the pet chews at the flea, it swallows the tapeworm eggs. The other kind lives in the gut and muscles of small mammals and birds. Pets consume these when they are hunting.

What are the symptoms of tapeworm infection?

Most animals that have tapeworms do not show many signs. They may become picky eaters because the worms make them nauseous. Most owners diagnose tapeworms by seeing them on their pet.

What do tapeworms look like?

Most tapeworms are seen as segments (which are individual egg packets) either stuck around the anus or crawling out of a fresh stool. When dried up, they look like small rice grains. Before they dry out, they look like small white balls of jelly that inch along.

Is “scooting” a sign of tapeworms in dogs?

“Scooting”, or dragging the anus along the ground, is a sign of the area being itchy. Tapeworms are not irritating, and so do not cause pets to be itchy. If you see this behaviour, it usually means that your pet has blocked scent glands they are trying to unplug.

Can I get tapeworms from my pet?

Since tapeworms are spread by consuming an intermediate host, it is highly unlikely for a person to develop tapeworms. It is possible to get tapeworm eggs on your hands and get tapeworms from putting your fingers in your mouth.                                              

How do you prevent tapeworms?

There are several medicines that will kill adult tapeworms that live in the intestine. The worms that are passed will be dead, but segments are full of eggs that could potentially hatch. You prevent reinfection by preventing exposure to intermediate hosts. Treat for fleas if there are any. If possible, keep your pet from hunting for mice and birds.

How often should I treat my pets?

Frequency of treatment depends on how often they are exposed to new worms. All tapeworm medicines kill the worms in the body, but do not persist to kill new worms that develop in a few more days. Pets that hunt all the time, or have a flea problem, should be treated every 2 to 3 months. Pets that are not obviously exposed should still be treated once per year. Talk to your vet about the level of risk for your particular pet.

Written by Morinville Veterinary Clinic


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Last updated: July 23, 2020

Dear Clients,

Thank you for choosing Morinville Veterinary Clinic for your pets' veterinary needs. As we continue to adjust to the "new normal," we have implemented new protocols to keep you and our team safe.

It is still preferred that you stay in your vehicle while we bring your pet in for their appointment. However, as of Monday, July 21, 2020, we will be allowing one client to accompany their pet during their visit.

Along with wearing a face mask and using hand sanitizer, any client wishing to be present during an exam will need to record your name, phone number and email address for contact tracing purposes, in compliance with Alberta Health requirements.

Should you choose to come in with your pet, we kindly ask that you comply with the following protocols:

  • Our doors will remain locked. Please call us at 780.939.3133 upon your arrival.
  • Physical distance with staff and other clients while inside the building.
  • Face coverings must be worn to enter the clinic.
  • Use hand washing station upon entry.
  • Continue the use of credit cards as the preferred payment method.
  • Continue with curbside pickup of food and medication (unless you have used our online store and are having your order delivered directly to your home). To place an order through our online store, visit our website and click on "Online Store".
  • If you wish to wait in your vehicle during the appointment, when you arrive, please remain outside the hospital and use your cell phone to call us. We will take a history of your pet's health and discuss any concerns. A staff member will then meet you outside to bring your pet into the hospital for an examination. The Veterinarian will call you to discuss the recommended treatment plan. After your appointment, a staff member will return your pet to you outside, and take care of any needed medications and payment.

    If you wish to connect with a veterinarian via message, phone or video, visit our website and follow the "Online Consultation" link.


    Have you welcomed a new furry family member to your home? We’d love to meet them! Visit our Must Know New Pet Owner Information page for useful resources and helpful recommendations for new pet owners.


    We are OPEN with the following hours:

    - Monday to Friday: 8:00 am - 9:00 pm
    - Saturday: 8:00 am - 6:00 pm
    - Sunday: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm

    Thank you for your patience and understanding and we look forward to seeing you and your furry family members again!

    - Your dedicated team at Morinville Veterinary Clinic