Taxonomy: f. Dilepididae
Animal: Dipylidium caninum (epidemiology) 6 20.jpg
Dipylidium caninum life cycle. (Boreham & Boreham 1990, Compendium on Continuing Education 12 667 - 675 ) The adult tapeworm occurs in the middle and posterior sections of the small intestine of the definitive hosts, dogs, cats and occasionally humans. Gravid segments (proglottids) pass out either separately or in groups with the faeces or may wander out of the anus by themselves; these dry, (remain infective for up to 3.5 months at 15C, 2.5 months at 20-25C, 1 month at 32C but are not infective if kept moist for more than 6 days) and are attractive to and then eaten by cat flea (Ctenocephlides felis felis) larvae. The eggs hatch in the flea larva gut releasing the oncospheres which use their hooks to burrow through the gut wall to the haemocoele in which they develop into infective metacestodes. The development of the cestode is independent of the development of its intermediate flea host; but dependant on the ambient temperate and humidity and also the flea larva diet. Full development in the intermediate host to the infective metacestode stage takes 9-15 days at 32C, 13-18 days at 30C but is not complete at less than 30C until the flea has been on the cat or dog for 5-7 days with its surface temperature of 32C (Pugh RE PhD thesis). The definitive host is infected when they accidentally ingest the flea host containing fully developed infective metacestodes. Development to adult worms takes 14-20 days.
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