Fluffy Never Did Like That Sheep

, , , , | Healthy | September 15, 2018

(Tapeworm infections are not uncommon in our area. Thankfully, they are easily treated, and in the case of dogs, easily prevented. Cats are harder because they can get the worms from eating infected rodents, but dogs cannot. Generally, when a dog has tapeworms, that means they have at some point in the past had fleas. The flea larvae ate a tapeworm egg, and then the flea grew up and the dog ate the flea. Every case of canine tapeworms I have ever diagnosed can be traced back to fleas. So, when I prescribe tapeworm medication, I also make sure the pet is on a monthly flea control — either drops or pills. I have just finished explaining this to a woman whose toy poodle has tested positive for tapeworms.)

Owner: “Well, that is impossible. [Cutesy name that is longer than the dog] has never had fleas. You said, ‘generally,’ so there is another way, right?”

Me: “Well, yes, but–”

Owner: “Then that is obviously how it happened. [Dog] is groomed regularly, and we have a maid service and a gardener, so there is absolutely no way she could have been exposed to icky bugs.”

Me: “Well, I mean, in theory–”

Owner: “Theory nothing! [Dog] is in pristine condition without any of those monthly drops that common mutts need. So, we will be treating the tapeworms she got by the other method, but we will not be taking flea medications.”

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am, but there is just no way–”

Owner: “Look here, missy. I know [Head Doctor at the practice], and if I have to call him and tell him that you think my pedigreed poodle has fleas, nobody is going to be happy.”

Me: *sigh* “Okay, but I have one question for you.”

Owner: “Yes?”

Me: “How did she get the sheep’s skull open?”

Owner: “What?!”

Me: “If [Dog] didn’t get tapeworms from fleas, then the only way would be if she killed a sheep and ate its brains. So, please tell me, how did she kill the sheep?”

Owner: *blushes* “So… maybe there could have been one flea, once.”

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