You Make The Diagnosis: Name This Fecal Parasite Found in Dogs

Pictured below is a worm that was found crawling on the fur around the anus of a dog. The owner also found more of the worms on the dog’s stool. Study the picture of this flat, off-white colored worm and then answer the following questions: 1) What is the name of this parasite? 2) How is it differentiated from maggots? 3) How are animals infected?


Diagnosis: Tapeworm Taenia pisiformis and Dipylidium caninum are the most common types in dogs.

The worm or parasite in the picture is a tapeworm segment.  Unfortunately, no eggs were found during fecal analysis to determine the exact species. The segments of tapeworms are flat whereas maggots are round. Dried segments look like grains of rice. Tapeworms are made up of a head and neck followed by segments that make up the rest of the body. Each segment absorbs nutrients from the small intestine of the host. Segments at the end of the worm, break off and are discarded in the feces. Fleas eat the segments releasing the eggs inside. Dogs and cats are infected when they eat fleas.


-Rothrock, Kari. ‘Tapeworm Infestation’ Associate Database, VIN last updated 10/31/2012.

In Honor of The Search and Rescue Dogs of 9/11

Fifteen years ago, search and rescue dogs descended upon the world trade center in search of survivors. Dogs and their handlers worked day and night to help the victims. One of those teams included a young Golden retriever on her first deployment, named Bretagne and her handler, Denise Corliss. It was the first deployment in a distinguished career of helping people in many disasters including hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Ivan.

Search and Rescue Dogs of the United States (SARDUS) is a non-profit that provides training and certification for dogs and their handlers. The dogs use their powerful noses to find missing children, Alzheimer’s patients, drowning victims and people trapped in collapsed buildings. The black Labrador retriever pictured below helps find skiers and snowboarders trapped in avalanches. More information may be found at


Today, as we remember the victims and their families, I would like to also remember the search and rescue teams. Thank you to all the brave dogs and their handlers who dedicate their lives to helping people caught in disasters.


-Coffey, Laura T, “Never Forger: Last 9/11 Ground Zero search dog dies just shy of 17th birthday”, TODAY June 6, 2016.