Cookie Has Tapeworm Infection

Hunting and snacking on rodents has backfired. Cookie has tapeworm infection.

In theory, we knew this could happen. In practice, this is really our first experience with intestinal parasites. Jasmine did have roundworms once when she was little. Other than that, our dogs never had this issue. But life up here, in the wilderness, is different. Places to see, critters to hunt and snack on.

We cannot practically prevent Cookie from hunting the little critters and we couldn't take that fun away from her anyway.

That means we have to become much more vigilant and get on parasite watch and see what we can do in terms of natural prevention.

Cookie did not have any symptoms.

It was sheer luck we found out when we did. So it happened that after major snow fall we got a warm day when the snow partially melted and then froze with a thick hard crust. Because this is unsafe to let Cookie running through that like a fool, she's doomed do leashed walks and runs until the snow melts, hardens all the way through or gets thick enough cover of fresh stuff on top of it.

I was taking her for her morning walk when I noticed something below her bum.

It was not snow. It was not moving and kind of looked like a piece of thread and later it was gone. That's what I concluded it was - a piece of thread from something.

Later that day I noticed another one, at about the same location. That, I thought, was strange. And I couldn't really figure out where all those pieces of thread would be coming from. As it was at the beginning of the walk, by the time we came back home I forgot all about it.

The next morning I saw one actually crawl out of her bum.

Ok, this was alive, moving, crawling out of her bum. This was a worm! Kind of looked like roundworm but it was kind of short for that. Also, even though it looked white, it was kind of semitransparent.

This is exactly what I saw. Photo and video by Artem Castillo

Tapeworm didn't even cross my mind.

I was under the impression that the segments would look like segments. Kind of like a grain of rice, as it is often described. I didn't expect it to be this long and squirm around.

This is what I would have expected to see. Image Little Creek Veterinary Clinic

It wasn't until I discussed it with Dr. Krista who pointed me in the right direction that I confirmed that it indeed is tapeworm.

Called up the vet and they prepared the meds for Cookie. She got her first dose yesterday.

Not knowing how long Cookie has had this, I got also wondering whether this could have been behind Cookie's elevated ALT.

Most vets whom I asked said it would not. Jasmine's vet, though, said that if it is a flea-transmitted tapeworm it wouldn't but if Cookie has a large tapeworm burden that may have caused the elevation.

I always thought that tapeworms come either from fleas or uncooked pork.

Turns out that there is more than one kind of tapeworms and all kinds of ways a dog can contract them.

Dogs most commonly acquire Dipylidium caninum that does come from ingestion of fleas. But dogs who have access to various small mammals can also get other kinds. I always thought tapeworm was a tapeworm. Apparently not.

They can also be found in all kinds of places, such as body cavities, liver, even connective tissue.

That's life in the wilderness for you.

Cookie is being treated and I'll be looking into ways of prevention. And well be keeping even closer eye on the poop. Until now, when it was good and solid, we didn't examine it further. Now we're gonna have to.

I'll be also kind of curious to see whether getting rid of this might get the ALT back to where it belongs.

Further reading:
Tapeworms in Small Animals

Related articles:
Incontinence? Cookie's Mysterious Leaks
From The End Of A Lead Line To Casa Jasmine: Meet Cookie, Our New Adoptee
And So It Begins Again(?) Our First Health-Related Heart Attack With Cookie 
I Didn't Know I Could Fly: Why Cookie Wears A Harness Instead Of A Collar
C.E.T. Oral Hygiene Chews For Dogs CAN Be A Choking Hazzard 
Our First Health-Related Heart Attack With Cookie: The Knee Or The Foot? 
Creative Solutions And An Incidental Product Review
Too Young For Pot: Cookie's Snack With A Side Of Hydrogen Peroxide  
Taming Of The Wild Beast: Cookie's Transition To Civilization  
Staying On Top Of The Ears: Cookie Is Not Impressed  
Putting The Easy Back Into Walking
Cookie's Ears Are Still Not Happy 
The Threat Of The Bulge Is Always Lurking 
Today Is Cookie's Three-Months Adoptoversary  
Cookie Meets The Electric Horse Fence And Her First Chiropractic Adjustment  
Why Examine Your Dog's Vomit? 
Why Is That Leg Still Not Happy? Cookie's Leg Keeps Getting Sore 
Cookie Too Is Insured With Trupanion
Does Being Insured Mean Being Covered? Our First Claim With Trupanion
Is Cookie's Leg Finally Getting Better?
Is Cookie Going To Be Another Medical Challenge Or Are We Looking To Closely? 
The Project That Is Cookie: Pancreatitis Up Close And Personal  
Pancreatitis: Cookie’s Blood Work   
Another Belly Upset: Pancreatitis Again Or Not?  
Happy Birthday, Cookie 
Who's Training Whom? Stick And Treat 
Don't Just Stand There, Do Something? Cookie's Mysterious Bumps 
Cookie's Mysterious Bumps Update
One Vomit, No Vomit 
Happy One-Year Adoptoversary, Cookie!
Cookie's Leaks Are Back: Garden Variety Incontinence Or Not?
Cookie's Leaks Update 
Don't Panic, Don't Panic: Know What Your Job Is 
The Continuing Saga Of Cookie's Leeks: Trying Chiropractic Approach 
Cookie's Minor Eye Irritation
Regular Wellness Exam: Cookie's ALT Was Elevated 
Cookie's Plantar Paw Pad Injury 
How Far To Take It When The Dog Isn't Sick?

Do you have a story to share?

Your story can help others, maybe even save a life!

What were the first signs you noticed? How did you dog get diagnosed? What treatment did/didn't work for you? What was your experience with your vet(s)? How did you cope with the challenges?

Email me, I'll be happy to hear from you!


  1. Thanks for the heads up on this. I worry about worms a lot because of all the junk that Jack eats...whatever he can get his hands on, or his paws. Knock on wood - no worms so far.

    1. I think Cookie got it from eating rodents. Most likely.

  2. These are the kinds of things you really don't want to see, but you need to know, haha! I've always heard the worm segments would look like a grain of rice also and with having a black dog, they would be easy to spot. That's one reason I don't use a monthly worming medication that includes tapeworm protection, because I figure I will notice if Haley ever got a tapeworm. Great info, thanks!

    1. Maybe if there was more of them. And if Cookie wasn't as active as she is - I don't think any segment would stay on her very long. I saw 5 squigglies total. There could have been more, hard to tell.

      They seem to crawl our particularly after a bowel movement. I'm sure that sooner or later you'd notice too.

  3. I recognized the same creatures while washing my dog today and ran to the i now what they are, thanks ;)


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