Ask the Veterinarian/Worms


I am trying to decide what worm protection I should use for my dog. Which worm is more dangerous tapeworms or whipworms? All the protections I find don't protect for both of them.

All parasites are dangerous if left unchecked. A lot of what you use has to do with the age of your dog, whether or not he is on heartworm prevention (which he should be all year long) and what kind of flea protection you want or use.

Heartworm medicine given monthly all year also treats dog for the most common worms: roundworms, hook and whip worms.

So dogs on monthly prevention are usually pretty worm free.

Tapeworms are usually ingested from chewing on fleas or eating mice. Fleas are by far the largest carriers of tapeworm eggs. Once a dog eats a flea with a tapeworm egg in it, it takes around 28 days for the tape segments to start crawling out of the anus of the dog. You will see little whitish moving grains on the stools as well.

Tapeworm medicine must be bought separately from other worming medicine. Tapeworms need an entirely different type of drug to kill them, which is why they don't put it in things like heartworm prevention. Plus since they have to eat a flea or mouse to get the worm, it's not like they will get them every 10 days like they can with roundworms.

Whips used to be more common in the south but have now traveled pretty much to all states. Monthly heartworm medicine will kill these and keep them in check.

Most adult dogs also have a higher immunity to most worms. It's puppies that are typically affected the most by them.

So that's the basic run down on your worms. Hope that helps!  

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Jana Connell RVT, CVT


PLEASE READ BEFORE SUBMITTING TO ME: I am NOT a vet and do NOT diagnose diseases. That is only for a licensed Veterinarian to do. I will give you suggestions and steer you toward calling your vet for help. You can call the vet's office and talk to the technician there or the vet at times. Don't be afraid to call them! If you have a serious issue with your pet please post it to one of the veterinarians in here- I will tell you the same thing in my answer. IF your pet is injured or in an emergency situation, CALL YOUR VET- Do not wait and post in here. Just call the vet's office and get them in to see the vet right away. Critical treatment time is lost if you seek answers here when you should have your precious pet at the vets!! Don't sit at home waiting for an answer when your pet is critically ill or injured!! I can answer most questions about small animal and wildlife care as well as small animal nutrition. I can also answer questions about all phases of dental care for small animals. I DO NOT answer questions about birds (unless it is wildlife or songbirds) or HAMSTERS/GERBILS/CHINS/GUINEA PIGS/REPTILES/FROGS/RABBITS/PET BIRDS OF ANY KIND so please submit these questions to the appropriate sections. I, as well as other experts in here, do NOT do homework questions- that is for YOU to do! Please respect these rules for all of us. Thanks!


I have over 42 years experience in the field of veterinary medicine. I specialized in small animals and did wildlife rehab for over 25 years, mostly raptors, squirrels and opossums. I am a Small Animal Nutritional Consultant with 6 certificates from Hills Pet Foods, CNM and Purina. I also specialized in Small Animal Dentistry which is a field I truly love. I also Teach Veterinary Technology to working technicians who are studying to take their California Tests to become Licensed Technicians. They have to take both the VTNE (Veterinary Technician National Exam) and the California boards.

Audubon,World Wildlife Federation, American Society of Veterinary Dental Technicians.


Licensed with California and Oregon, RVT and CVT. Certified Veterinary Dental Technician Have over 1500 logged hours of Continuing Education Credits(that means I keep up to date!).

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Nominated for Expert of the Month for the last 5 years.

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