This information is provided by Provet for educational purposes only.
You should seek the advice of your veterinarian if your pet is ill as only he or she can correctly advise on the diagnosis and recommend the treatment that is most appropriate for your pet.
Tapeworms that infect rabbits and rodents can sometimes be transmitted to humans causing mild disease.
The transmission of Cestodes (tapeworms) from pet rabbits and rodents to humans resulting in disease is not common, however it can occur and so basic hygiene precautions including washing hands after handling these types of pets should always be practised.
The following cestode tapeworms infect rabbits/rodents :
In rabbits and rodents these parasites may not cause any signs. However if they are present in large numbers , or if the animal is debilitated the following signs may be seen :
All of these parasites (except for Taenia pisiformis) have been reported to be pathogenic to humans but Hymenolepiasis in children is the most frequently reported problem. In most cases the infection is subclinical but when they occur the signs in humans are due to the damage caused to villi of the small intestine :
Infection is transmitted to humans through ingestion of eggs on faecally contaminated fingers, or from water or food that has been contaminated. So, diligent attention to basic hygiene is important and humans (especially children) should wash their hands thoroughly after handling these pets, or cleaning their bedding or handling their food and water bowls and other utensils.
Provet would like to hear from YOU if you have seen a case of zoonotic spread of tapeworm . Please send full case details to firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank YOU !
Updated October 2013