Dipylidium caninum (dog tapeworm) can occasionally infect humans.
(1) The tapeworm may infect dogs or cats.
(2) Many infections are seen in infants or young children, who ingest larvae when they swallow fleas from the animal.
(3) Symptoms may include loss of appetite, indigestion, diarrhea, abdominal pain, urticaria or pruritus ani.
(4) The patient may have flea bites.
(5) Eosinophilia may be present.
(6) Proglottids may be seen at the anus or in the stool and are described as resembling rice grains or small seeds.
The tapeworm can be diagnosed based on:
(1) eggs in the stool
(2) egg packets within the gravid uterus of the proglottid
(3) examination of the scolex (if passed)
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Specialty: Infectious Diseases, Clinical Laboratory, Gastroenterology