Atlas of livestock parasites
digitized collection of microscopical preparations

Atlas of Parasites Contents Information sources Glossary Administration

Taenia spp. (dog, cat)



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Numerous species infect small animals, including T. taeniaeformis in cats and T. pisiformis, T. multiceps, T. hydatigena, T. ovis in dogs.   

Distribution: Worldwide.   

Host: Small intestine of dogs, cats, and various wild carnivores.       

Life Cycle: Carnivores acquire infections through the ingestion of the immature metacestode stage (morphologic forms include cysticerci, coenuri, and strobilocerci) in the tissues of prey animals. Prey animals become infected with the metacestode through the ingestion of food contaminated  with eggs passed in carnivore feces.  Pre-patent period is 4-10 weeks with patent period of several years.  

Diagnosis: Eggs are detected when free in the feces by fotation techniques. Generally, however, eggs are passed from the host contained in tapeworm segments. Proglottids in faeces grossly visible. Therefore, fecal fotation tends to be a poor indicator of infection status. Taenia-type eggs in faeces (see Echinococcus for method of distinguishing Taenia-type eggs).

Size: 25–40µm in diameter        

Clinical features: Infections in the defnitive host are generally subclinical; however, the     passage of segments from the rectum may induce anal pruritis. Taenia taeniaeformis (small-rodent intermediate host) and T. pisiformis (rabbit intermediate host) are common species infecting pet cats and dogs, respectively. Metacestode infection in the intermediate hosts can cause disease (T. multiceps) or meat condemnation (T. ovis).     


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