Taxonomy: f. Dilepididae
Animal: Dipylidium caninum (pathology) 2 16.jpg
Dipylidium caninum dry gravid segments from a dogs bedding; 11-13 mm long. This is a common parasite of dogs and cats and occasionally humans. The gravid segments containing egg packets pass out with faeces or actively wander out spontaneously, may cause irritation and itching. The segments dry and are attractive to the larvae of fleas, Ctenocephalides felis felis - the cat flea and other flea species which are the intermediate host of this parasite. If D.caninum is suspected (especially in children with vague abdominal symptoms and close contact with dogs or cats), examine bedding or nappies for segments such as these; they resemble rice or pumpkin seeds. Rarely are eggs seen in the stool so that direct examination of faeces is unsatisfactory for diagnosis; examine the sides of the container that the faeces is placed in as may see the segments migrating up if they have passed out with that faecal specimen. Examine the segments under a dissecting microscope 4-5mm long x1-2mm wide with bilateral genital pores, then place on a slide with a drop of saline and break open to look for the typical egg capsules and eggs. Other segments can be relaxed in water/4C/2hours, drop into hot formalin for 2-24 hours, stain with Mayers haematoxylin, dehydrate, clear and mount to examine.
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