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                        Dipylidium caninum Homepage

      Common name: Double-pore Tapeworm

        Kingdom: Animalia

          Phylum: Platyhelminths

            Class: Cestoda

              Order: Cyclophyllidea

                Family: Dipylidiidae

                  Genus : Dipylidium

                    Species: caninum

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Adult Parasite:

The adult worms measure up to 50 cm long.

Adult Dipylidium caninum (left), gravid proglottid (middle), scolex (right).

Schematic illustration of Dipylidium caninum

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  • Dogs, cats, fox, humans (definitive).
  • Fleas [Ctenocephalides felis], lice [Trichodectes canis] (intermediate).

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Life Cycle:

    The larval flea ingests the egg. The cysticercoid develops in the flea, reaching infectivity in the adult flea about 1 day after the flea has found a host. When the dog ingests an infected flea while grooming, the cysticercoid is digested out, the protoscolex attaches to the small intestinal wall and the worms begin to form proglottids. Gravid proglottids, containing the eggs, detach from the end of the worm and pass out in the feces. The prepatent period is about 2 weeks.

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Site in host where adult parasite is found:

  • The small intestine.

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Diagnostic Stage:

  • Proglottid (seen on feces, the peri-anal area, or left behind where the pet was sitting) and/or egg packets.
  • Eggs are 25 to 30 um in oblong packets of 20 or less eggs.
Egg packets expressed from a

Dipylidium caninum proglottid.

Dipylidium caninum proglottids on cat feces.

The proglottids are the cream colored objects on the surface of the sample.  4 proglottids are near the kitty-litter and 3 others are seen on the parts of the sample free of kitty-litter.


Common Diagnostic Test

Clinical Signs:
  • Usually asymptomatic in the dog and cat.



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University of Pennsylvania  2004

Comments or Questions please contact:  Dr. Nolan at: