Written by Dr. Sangamithra, MBBS , dr. trupti shirole | 

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Ramya Ananthakrishnan, MD Dr. Simi Paknikar on Sep 13, 2014

Cat Tapeworm

Tapeworm infection can affect cats or other mammals by typically settling in the small intestine. The tapeworm species that can cause infection in cats include Dipylidium Caninum, Taenia taeniaformis, Spirometra mansonoides, Dibothriocephalus latus or Echinococcus. Treatment to destroy tapeworms is a critical step in preventing transmission to humans especially children, and for averting damage to the cat's body. When treated promptly, prognosis is positive.

Definitive Host

Cats and rarely humans

Intermediate Host

Fleas are the intermediate host forDipylidium caninum. Lice are also an intermediate hosts for tapeworm but they are relatively uncommon parasites of cats. This means that the tapeworm is unable to complete its life cycle without the presence of fleas or lice in the environment. The cat must ingest an infected flea or louse in order to become infested.

The intermediate hosts of Taenia taeniaformis are mice, birds or rabbits.

Dibothriocephalus latus and Spirometra mansonoides are two uncommon tapeworms that can spread to cats via uncooked freshwater fish or a water snake.

Echinococcus tapeworms are rarely found in cats. Foxes, coyotes and wild rodents are important in the life cycle of this parasite.

Prevalence and Distribution

The most common internal parasite in adult cats is tapeworms.

The two common tapeworm species found in cats are Dipylidium caninum and Taenia taeniaformis.

Spirometra mansonoides is seen in outdoor cats along the Gulf Coast region, while Dibothriocephalus latus might be seen in the Gulf Coast region or around the Great Lakes.

Trappers and hunters in the north central United States and south central Canada may be at increased risk for infection with Echinococcus when strict hygiene is not practiced.

Mode of Infection

Human infection with cat tapeworms is rare yet possible. A person could acquire a tapeworm if they accidentally swallow an infected flea. Cat tapeworms do not present a health hazard to humans.

Human infection with Echinococcus is very rare and can cause serious, potentially fatal disease when humans become infected. Humans are at risk for infection when eggs of Echinococcus are passed in the feces of the dog and cat.

Rodent control and good hygiene are important in preventing the spread to humans.


Patients may not suffer from symptoms. Gastrointestinal symptoms may be present in some cases.

Tapeworm Infections - References

  1. MEDIC8 - (http://www.medic8.com/)


person Saturday, April 21, 2012

i had repeated sins infections since moving in with a friend with a cat.recently i felt 'hair' moving in my thoat. that was when i could tell i had a parasite. the dr. tried to say it was just another sinus infection. so, i purchaced paragone and took double doses of it while fasting, then some milk of magnesia to pass them thru. then took 2 stool samples and insisted the dr. have them examined. the 1st dr. said it was sinus. the 2nd dr. said i didn't have them before even looking. i had to be persistant. i took the medication prescribed[mabendazole]. i feel there is alot less 'hair' moving in my throat but i can still feel them.

AllHopeIsGone Wednesday, October 21, 2009

where are they from? Where can you get these paracites? What part of the world?

guest Wednesday, October 21, 2009

it is every where acually the only way to get it is if u eat meat that isnt fully cooked and is infected by the paracites.. even if its infected u can eat it.. the heat from when u cook the meat kills it so make sure its cooked fully.

chritine Saturday, April 21, 2012

that is not true. fully cooked pork can still infect a person. if u pet an infected animal, the eggs can make their way to the person..many different ways they can be transmitted.

canadia421 Thursday, June 4, 2009

well. it sounds like you have a serious problem. im sorry that you are experiencing sickness. you spelled diarrhea wrong. that irks me. but you should go to a doctor to get that checked out. not ask random people that you dont even know online. thats not to smart. theres alot of creeps out there that could tell you something completely bizzar to hurt you because, well, their creepers. the common sense thing to do would be to go to your family doctor and get it diagnosed. thats what i would do anyway. but have fun finding out what it is. sorry about this rude comment. it just annoys me how people would trust strangers to ask for help. BYE!

guest Saturday, July 11, 2009

Well, you spelled bazaar wrong. That irks me.

guest Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Well, you spelled bizarre wrong too. That irks me more.

guest Monday, August 17, 2009

Could it be that all of you are spelling brassiere wrong? I believe I am definitely the most irked.

guest Wednesday, March 10, 2010

*" They're creepers...not their" I'm glad you know how to spell diarrhea, what an accomplishment!

guest Thursday, April 15, 2010

you all are stupid for arguing about dumb stuff... go to a dictionary if you want to learn how to spell a word, not fight about it on a freaking website. how old are we now? im 18 and i know this. thanks for ur time.. and please stop arguing over the computer although funny, very stupid and childish :]

guest Saturday, August 28, 2010

Thanks for the entertainment. I particularly like "brassiere". Even if that wasn't meant to be funny... it was!

somebody Saturday, April 21, 2012

try cocoanut..less caffine and an english class.

mspurrty Wednesday, April 1, 2009

I am worried that I may possibly have a tapeworm but I´m not sure. I am visiting a foreign country and have been eating all types of different foods. This last week I have been experienceing sickness. Symptoms of diarrhoea, fatigue, loss of appetite, dizzyness and fever. I only felt all of these symptoms for two days but I am still experiencing Diarrhoea and fatigue after a week. I took medicine to help control it but it didnt´help much. I have not witnessed any type of worm in my stool. I´m worried that it can possibly be a tapeworm. I´m freaked out at the thought of it. Any advise what this may possibly be?

guest Monday, August 17, 2009

Yep. Definitely tapeworm.

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