Taxonomy: f. Dilepididae
Animal: Dipylidium caninum (pathology) 5 16.jpg
Dipylidium caninum dried gravid segments. barrel shaped 13 - 7 x 3 mm from the bedding of a dog, the definitive host. Flea larvae are attracted to these segments and eat them thus becoming infected with the eggs contained in the segments and the parasite develops in the flea which when eaten by a dog, cat or human completes the life cycle of the parasite. If D.caninum is suspected (especially in children with vague abdominal symptoms and close contact with dogs or cats), examine bedding or nappies for segments such as these; they resemble rice or pumpkin seeds. Adult worms embed into the mucosa of the small intestine, small numbers may cause no symptoms but larger numbers can cause haemorragic enteritis and occasionally death in young animals. The migrating gravid segments can cause irritation around the anus (pruritis ani) - dogs rub their anuses on the the ground scout in response to this irritation. In cats with severe infection, convulsions and epileptic fits have been reported. Children in close contact with dogs and cats can also accidentally swollow fleas containing the infective metacestode stage and develop vague abdominal symptoms due to the presence of adult worms and itchy anuses - rarely do they ever get heavy infections causing severe symptoms.
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