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Flatworms are a large group of often parasitic invertebrates that commonly infest dogs and other domesticated animals. Tapeworms and flukes are two of the most common types of flatworms found in dogs. These parasites cause moderate to severe symptoms, and in some cases they can permanently or fatally injure their host. Infestations often persist indefinitely, so it is important to administer treatment as soon as possible to prevent the condition from becoming more serious. Numerous medications are available, usually by prescription, to combat infestations of flatworms.
Praziquantel, sold under the brand name Droncit, treats infestations of schistosoma and liver fluke, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. It can also combat almost every other variety of canine flatworm, including flea tapeworm. Praziquantel is administered in one or more sessions in a single day, while many other deworming products require multiple days or weeks to take effect. It can cure worm infestations in both humans and dogs. Praziquantel is sold as a tablet, but it can also be injected directly into the bloodstream.
Fenbendazole is another common deworming product that is sold under the name Panacur. Much like praziquantel, this drug can treat a number of parasitic infestations, including flatworms, roundworms and whip worms. It can treat flatworms in the Taenia genus, but it is not effective against the common tapeworm, according to Mar Vista Animal Medical Center. Doses are usually administered once a day for three to five days.
Mebendazole, sold under the brand name Vermox, is another common deworming medication for both humans and canines. It is not effective against as many tapeworm species as some of the other products are, but it does combat infestations of worm species in the Echinococcus and Taenia genera. Taking mebendazole can cause some side effects, including stomach irritation and stool irregularity, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
Flatworms are persistent and may resurface after treatment, especially if the treatment wasn't concluded properly. Follow the instructions of the specific deworming product prescribed by your veterinarian. Even if worms or eggs are no longer visible in the dog's feces, there may still be some left in his digestive system. Keep giving your dog the amount prescribed for as long as the label suggests. Many types of worms are transmitted by other parasites, like fleas, and third-party vectors, including rabbits and dear. Applying flea medication or managing fleas through alternate means regularly reduces the chances of your dog contracting worms from parasites.
- Flatworm image by Juergen Rudorf from Fotolia.com