“I woke up and saw this next to my dog’s poop” states this reader in her submission. “What is it?” she asks about the small, pink-colored worm in the picture below.
Our reader does not give us more context than this, but we must say that the picture does show us this creature quite well. That said, there is still not much to see, even when one zooms in on this worm. It’s body seems to be perfectly smooth, with no ridges or segmentation as far as we can see. Neither end of the worm looks different, so we cannot tell which end is the head and which is the rear. At first, we thought this might be an earthworm because of its plain appearance and pink coloration, but even an earthworm is not this featureless. If it was an earthworm, it would likely have a clitellum in the middle of its body. That is, unless it was a sexually immature earthworm, which is a possibility, given its small size.
With that in mind, we are still doubtful that this is an earthworm, and seeing as the worm was found next to the dog’s waste, we understand our reader may be concerned about parasites, which is definitely a possibility. Of course, we will not outright confirm or deny the existence of parasites in either pets or humans, as we are not qualified to do so, but we must nonetheless point out that there are indeed worms that can infect dogs, such as roundworms, whipworms, tapeworms and hookworms (these being the most common ones). If our reader is concerned that her dog may have parasites, we recommend that she takes her dog to the vet, as well as the worm itself, in order to get the opinion of a qualified medical professional. Likewise, if our reader becomes concerned for her own health and wants to consult with a medical professional, then what we can recommend is that our reader do one or more of the following:
1) Search for a medical parasitologist in their area using this directory of medical parasitology consultants: https://www.astmh.org/for-astmh-members/clinical-consultants-directory.
2) Search for a local parasitologist by doing a Google search for “medical parasitologist (name of the closest big city)” or “tropical medicine specialist (name of the closest big city)”.
3) Get in touch with Dr. Omar Amin at the Parasitology Center at https://www.parasitetesting.com.
Naturally, our reader can also see her GP, but usually they do not receive training in parasitology, which is why we recommend consulting a specialist instead.
To conclude, we cannot know for certain what this worm might be. It could be an immature earthworm, or something else entirely. Either way, given that the worm was found next to the dog’s faeces, we do not feel comfortable providing a concrete identification, as the situation is potentially medical in nature. For that reason, we suggest that our reader consult a veterinarian on the behalf of her dog, so that she can get the answers and treatment her dog may need. We wish our reader and her dog the very best!
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