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Dipylidium caninum Infection

By Richard D. Pearson, MD, Emeritus Professor of Medicine, University of Virginia School of Medicine

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Dipylidium caninum is a tapeworm that can cause intestinal infection, which is typically asymptomatic.

D. caninum, the double-pored tapeworm, is present in dogs and cats. Fleas are the intermediate host. Ingestion of an infected flea, usually by a young child, causes an asymptomatic, self-limited infection, but proglottids (tapeworm segments) may be seen in stool.

Treatment is with a single oral dose of praziquantel 5 to 10 mg/kg. Alternatively, a single 2-g dose of niclosamide (unavailable in the US) is given as 4 tablets (500 mg each) that are chewed one at a time and swallowed. For children, the dose is 50 mg/kg (maximum 2 g) once.

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