Dear Daisy Dog
My dog has what looks like grains of rice on her rear end. They move slowly, so I think they’re alive. What are they, and how can I get rid of them?
It sounds like you are looking at tapeworm egg segments, an embarrassment to any self-respecting dog.
If your dog has tapeworms, she most likely acquired them by eating an infected flea, rodent or rabbit.
Inside your dog’s intestine, the immature worm grew into an adult tapeworm that released segments filled with eggs.
The egg segments, which stick to the dog’s anal area and feces, are motile and eventually rupture, releasing the eggs.
Usually an infected dog exhibits no signs except the rice-like egg segments. However, tapeworm infection sometimes causes diarrhea or an itchy rear end, and occasionally an intestinal blockage.
Fortunately, tapeworms are easily treated. Your veterinarian can prescribe the appropriate dewormer.
One note of caution: Humans may inadvertently ingest an egg or infected flea and develop tapeworms in their intestines and cysts on their internal organs.
Therefore, if your dog has fleas, it’s essential to treat them as well as the tapeworms. And most importantly, talk with your veterinarian about regular deworming.