Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

Dogs can be infected with tapeworms.

Dogs can be infected with tapeworms.
beginning of content


2-minute read

Tapeworms can cause infection in people who drink contaminated water or eat undercooked meat from infected animals. This is called hydatid disease.

The infection in humans is usually easily treated but sometimes it can cause serious problems. In Australia, there is a risk of contracting hydatid disease from tapeworms in dog faeces. You should see your doctor if you have any signs of tapeworm infection.

Causes and risk factors of tapeworm

You can be infected with tapeworms by eating either the eggs, from contaminated animal faeces, or larvae, from raw or undercooked meat.

If you consume tapeworm eggs, they can lead to cysts in other tissues or organs and cause life-threatening damage. If you consume tapeworm larvae, they develop into adult tapeworms in your intestines and cause intestinal infection.

Intestinal tapeworm infections are usually mild. The type of tapeworm you have will depend on the meat that caused your infection.

Tapeworm symptoms

People with tapeworm infection often have no symptoms. If you have symptoms they’ll depend on the type of tapeworm and where it is in your body.

Intestinal tapeworm infection can cause:

If you develop a complication you may have:

If you have hydatid disease, the tapeworm parasites have formed cysts in your liver, lungs or other organs, or bones.

Tapeworm treatment

Your doctor will ask for a stool sample and perhaps a blood test to confirm that you have tapeworms and what kind of tapeworm you have. You’ll probably be prescribed medicine to kill the tapeworms. If you have complications, you may need other tests, medicine and perhaps surgery to remove the cysts.

Tapeworm prevention

You can reduce your risk of tapeworm infection by:

  • washing your hands after using the toilet and before handling food
  • following food handling guidelines
  • not eating undercooked pork, beef and fish
  • control tapeworm infection in your dog, with preventive deworming and quickly treating any dog infected with tapeworm


WebMD (Tapeworms in humans), Mayo Clinic (Tapeworm infection - definition), SA Health (Hydatid disease – including symptoms, treatment and prevention)

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: April 2019

Back To Top

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results

Tapeworms and hydatid disease - Better Health Channel

It's important for your own health to control tapeworm infection in your dog.

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Worms - threadworms -

Threadworms are the most common form of worm infection in Australia. Worms are easily treated with pharmacy medicines. Find out what products are available for worms.

Read more on myDr website

Threadworms (pinworms) -

Threadworms do not go away by themselves, so they must be treated in order to eradicate them.

Read more on myDr website

Worms in kids | Raising Children Network

Its common to find worms in kids aged 5-10 years. If your child has an itchy bottom, it could be a sign of worms. Heres how to treat and prevent worms.

Read more on website

Pros and Cons of Medicinal Cannabis Edibles | C4E

learn about the pros and cons of Medicinal Cannabis or Medical marijuana, as the landscape is changing rapidly in Australia, however, there are currently no approved pharmaceutical grade medicinal cannabis edibles offered in Australia.

Read more on Epilepsy Action Australia website

Pinworms - Better Health Channel

Despite the unsavoury reputation, a pinworm infection (worms) is relatively harmless and easily treated

Read more on Better Health Channel website


Threadworms, also called pinworms, are tiny, very thin white worms about 5 millimetres long that live in the intestine and around the anus.

Read more on Queensland Health website

Kids' Health - Topics - Help - I've got worms

Have you seen those really long worms in the garden? Well those are not the worms we're talking about! We're talking about the sort of worms that like to make their homes inside human bodies! There are various kinds of worms that do this, but in Australia the only one we need to be concerned about is the threadworm, (which looks like a little piece of thread)

Read more on Women's and Children's Health Network website

Cysts - Better Health Channel

Cysts may be as small as a blister or large enough to hold litres of fluid.

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Pets in the family

Practical and trusted advice about how to prepare a pet for a new baby, how to teach your child to look after a pet, and pet safety, illnesses and allergies.

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information and advice

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo