“Can you identify these worms I’ve found around my new rental house since moving in?” asks this reader in Ontario about the worm-like organisms pictured below. The creatures range in color and shape, and she found some of them in her dog’s waste.
“I recently moved to a new home in Ontario”, she continues in her submission. “The last tenets had several animals. But they also were not the cleanest people and they left the house in total disarray upon moving out.”
“I hired a cleaning lady upon moving in for $200. Unfortunately, she cut corners everywhere and I’m not sure that she actually cleaned the place besides vacuuming and cleaning the mirrors.”
“Since we moved in I have experienced no health effects, so this is not medical in nature. It’s purely a concern, as we do have kids and I want to make sure that these worms are the type that cannot affect my family. I basically want to know if we should hire pest control or take the worms outside.”
“We bought a dog a few months after moving in, and I also want to make sure it is not something my dog might eat and get sick. Since the moment we came in after the cleaning lady left, we have found several worms (particularly in the washroom and the kitchen and basement).”
“The other night, I woke up because I heard my dog barking at the door to be let out, only to realize that I didn’t hear her cries in time. She had already pooped on the floor, so I grabbed a “poop baggie” (it was really dark inside) but I picked it up and walked to the bathroom.”
“As I was picking it up, I felt “movement” in the bag so I ran to the toilet and gently placed it on a few stacks of tissues (above the water level) so I could see what it was. Upon further inspection with my cell phone light, the dog’s poop was smooth, slimy and gently “moving”. So, I grabbed a Bobby pin and tried to “sift” my way through the dog’s poo, and I fished out what I think is a type of worm.”
“Maybe I’m wrong, but if I’m not I’d like to take precautions because I do NOT want my family to be affected by this. I am including the photo from my pup’s poo, and including photos of a few other worms we have found.”
“Are you able to ID these worms? Also how can I get rid of them?”
“I don’t know much about worms, so they are probably just earthworms. Any help would be appreciated. Thank you”
To start off with, we want to thank our reader for her submission and for choosing to consult us about this issue. With that said, our reader is unfortunately incorrect in saying this is not medical in nature, because even if the organisms did not come from her or her family, it did come from her dog. And just as we are not qualified to diagnose medical problems in humans, we are not qualified to diagnose medical problems in animals.
Since this worm came from the excrement of her dog, we must assume this is medical in nature. All we can do in this case is recommend that our reader take her dog to the vet. Likewise, we also suggest that she show the vet the same pictures she showed us and give them the same context. If possible, even bringing samples of the worms to the vet might help them identify the worms quicker.
Now, if our reader had clarified which of the organisms in the photo came from the dog and which did not, we might have been able to identify the ones that did not come from the dog, but as it has not been made apparent, we cannot take that risk.
Additionally, in the case that our reader grows concerned for her own health, or her family’s, we suggest consulting a medical parasitologist and following the same steps listed above. To find one, our reader can do one or more of the following:
1) Search for a medical parasitologist in Ontario 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 in Ontario” or “tropical medicine specialist in Ontario”.
3) Get in touch with Dr. Omar Amin at the Parasitology Center at https://www.parasitetesting.com.
4) Contact Dr. Vipul Savaliya of Infectious Disease Care (“IDCare”) at idcarepa.com.
We should note that both Dr. Amin and Dr. Savaliya are available for online consultation, so our reader does not need to be in the vicinity of their physical offices to get help!
In conclusion, we are not qualified to identify organisms that come from the bodies of humans or animals (specifically pets). It is unfortunate that we must leave our reader’s questions unanswered, but we hope nonetheless that this article proves helpful to some degree. We wish our reader, her family and her dog the very best.