Taenia taeniaeformis is a parasitic tapeworm, with cats as definitive hosts. Two drugs known to be 100% effective in removing this infection are praziquantel and epsiprantel (Cestex, Banminth) which are often combined with pyrantel. The intermediate hosts of this tapeworm are rodents and lagomorphs (rabbits) which the cat must kill and eat in order to acquire the tapeworm infection. For more information see Taenia (genus).
Infection in the cat will develop and become obvious between 30 and 80 days after the cat has ingested the infected liver of a prey animal. Once the infection is established, it can last for between seven months and three years. A cat will produce between three and four motile segments per day either excreted in the feces or through direct migration, each containing between 500 and 12,000 eggs. Spontaneous destrobilization (the shedding of the entire portion of the body located behind the scolex and containing all of the strobila) may occur without any change in actual infection. Once shed, the proglotids are often very active and are capable of crawling considerable distances as they shed their eggs. Actual eggs are spheroid and are between 31 and 36 micrometers in diameter.
Superinfection in cats is possible if they are fed young tapeworms in the presence of established mature ones.
The other tapeworm often carried by both cats and dogs is Dipylidium caninum.
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