Dipylidium is tapeworm of cats and dogs. People become infected when they accidentally swallow a flea infected with tapeworm larvae; most reported cases involve children. Dipylidium caninum is a cestode that requires from the participation of an arthropod in its life cycle. This parasitosis occurs in dogs and cats, and occasionally in human beings. Human cases of D caninum infection have been reported in Europe, Philippines, China, Japan, Latin America and the United States; mostly children, one third of them being infants under 6 months old.
The diagnosis of this disease is done by the parasitological study of the feces, observing the characteristics of the gravid proglottids.
As with most tapeworm infections, the drugs of choice are niclosamide or praziquantel. The best way to prevent human infection is to treat infected animals with products which aid in killing the fleas on the animal.