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can sheep tapeworms infect cats

Tue Oct 31 16:07:53 EST 1995

Can tapeworms that infect sheep/goats also infect cats?

No, not to my knowledge.  Sheep/goats harbor anoplocephalid tapeworms 
that use arthropods as intermediate hosts. They ingest arthropods 
(often free-living mites) while grazing.  

Cats, on the other hand, most often have Dipylidium caninum, a 
tapeworm whose intermediate hosts are dog and cat fleas, and species 
of Taenia, whose intermediate hosts are rats, mice, etc.  Rarely, 
cats may be infected with Echinococcus multilocularis, whose 
intermediate hosts are voles, etc.

The life cycle of Dipylidium in cats is very rapid, and if all fleas 
are not eliminated, reinfection occurs very, very fast.
A.K. Prestwood
prestwood.a at calc.vet.uga.edu

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