Usually flat worms are tapes. If they are tapes you should get some frontline as well. Here's some info on tapes...
WHY IS IT CALLED A TAPEWORM?
This creature gets its name because its segments and body are very flat (like a piece of tape).
WHAT DO THEY LOOK LIKE?
The adult tapeworm inside the pet be a half a foot or more long. It is made of small segments, each about the size of a grain of rice. The tapeworm’s head hooks onto the dog’s intestine by tiny teeth and the worm absorbs nutrients through its skin. Each segment contains a complete set of organs but as new segments grow in at the neck area and older segments progress to the tip of the tail, the organs disintegrate except for the reproductive organs. When the segment drops off from the tail tip, it is only a sac of eggs.
This segment is white and able to move when it is fresh and, at this time, looks like a grain of white rice. As the segment dries, it looks more like a sesame seed.
WHERE DO THEY COME FROM?
There is no other way for a pet to get tapeworms except from fleas.
Many people who had thought their pet could not possibly have fleas find out about the infestation this way. The tapeworm segment breaks open releasing its eggs. A larval flea consumes the egg along with the flea dirt that it normally eats. As the larval flea matures, so does the baby tapeworm. When a grooming dog or cat licks the flea and swallows it, the dead flea is digested in the dog’s stomach releasing the baby tapeworm. The tapeworm is passed to its new home in the dog or cat’s small intestine where it attaches and lives its life.
This parasite does not harm the pet in any way as there are plenty of nutrients passing by to serve both the host and its tapeworm (tapeworms require very little nutrients.) Still, high performance dogs, who need every Calorie working for them, may show a decrease in performance because of a tapeworm infection.
HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOUR PET HAS THEM?
WHY DO THEY SOMETIMES FAIL TO SHOW UP IN A FECAL TEST?
Because the eggs are passed by the pet in packets (segments), they often do not show up on the fecal exam. (The packet must break open for the eggs to be seen.) Consider that the pet has tapeworms if segments are seen under its tail, around its anus, or on its feces. Segments can be passed in small groups connected to each other leading the owner to describe a worm that sounds larger than a grain of rice. Tapeworm segments are also quite flat.
Some people will mistake maggots in the stool for tapeworms. Maggots are not seen in freshly passed stool and are not flat.
CAN PEOPLE GET THEM?
Theoretically, yes, people can get them but they must be infected the same way dogs and cats are: by swallowing an infected flea.
HOW DO WE GET RID OF THEM?
Tapeworms are killed by different medications (one is called Droncit, brand name Praziquantel) which is administered by injection or tablet. The tapeworm is killed and digested with the pet’s food. It is not passed in the stool later.
WHY DO SOME VETERINARIANS RECOMMEND TWO TREATMENTS AND OTHERS ONLY RECOMMEND ONE TREATMENT?
Only one treatment is needed to kill tapeworms present; however, many clinics recommend a second injection in three weeks. The reason for the second injection is this: If the owner finds out at the time of their office visit that they need to control fleas to control tapeworms, they will need at least a month or so to control the fleas.
After the first treatment is given, there is no reason why the pet cannot immediately reinfect itself. It probably will reinfect itself at some point. By seeing the animal in three weeks and giving another treatment after the fleas are controlled, there is a good chance that the tapeworms will not just be back three weeks later. It takes 3 weeks from the time tapeworms are swallowed by the pet to the time segments can be seen by the owner.
On the other hand, who knows when the pet will swallow another infected flea? Our recommendation is that a single treatment be administered whenever segments are seen.
IF ONE PET HAS TAPEWORM SEGMENTS, CAN IT BE ASSUMED
THAT THEY ALL DO?
No, just because one pet in the household has swallowed an infected flea does not mean they all have. Our recommendation is to deworm only the pets who have obvious tapeworms.
WHY MIGHT A PET CONTINUE TO GET TAPEWORM INFECTIONS?
While many people would like to blame the medication as ineffective, the truth is that there must be an on-going flea population in the pet’s environment. The key to eradicating tapeworms from the home is flea control.