Taxonomy: f. Dilepididae
Animal: Dipylidium caninum (pathology) 6 14.jpg
Dipylidium caninum adult scolex - 250 - 500 microns wide, 4 deeply cupped oval suckers and a club shaped rostellum with 30 - 150 spines arranged in 1 to 7 circlets. Each spine or hook can protrude to a length of 185 microns or be completely retracted into the scolex. The number of circlets depends on age and trauma. D. caninum is the common tapeworm of dogs and cats and occasionally humans. Cat fleas, Ctenocephalides felis felis are the intermediate hosts. Adults embed into the mucosa of the small intestine, small numbers may cause no symptoms but larger numbers can cause haemorragic enteritis and occasionally death in young animals. The migrating gravid segments can cause irritation around the anus (pruritis ani) - dogs rub their anuses on the the ground scout in response to this irritation. In cats with severe infection, convulsions and epileptic fits have been reported. Children in close contact with dogs and cats can also accidentally swollow fleas containing the infective metacestode stage and develop vague abdominal symptoms due to the presence of adult worms and itchy anuses - rarely do they ever get heavy infections causing severe symptoms.
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