Our dog, Duke, was diagnosed with whipworms. Apparently they’re very common in dogs that live in shelters. Duke had his first vet appointment this week, exactly one week after we obtained him from a shelter.
I purposely didn’t say “after we rescued him,” because I think that term borders on self-aggrandizement. We didn’t pluck him from the midst of a pack of raving wolves, or unhook his leash from a rusted-out chain link fence in a neighborhood of crack houses and gun-toting drug dealers in the middle of the night. Instead, we drove our car to the stately brick Connecticut Humane Society in well-off Westport and walked him out of the building after writing a check and signing a few papers.
Anyway, I got the call from the vet while I was sleeping. I woke right up when I heard the word, “worms.” We picked up the medicine from the vet and treated him. He should be cured by now but I’m not. Parasites freak me out. Despite many articles claiming that it is extremely rare for humans to catch whipworms from dogs, they didn’t say it was impossible. I am now certain that he transmitted them to me. I don’t have any symptoms, but that means nothing since they’re often asymptomatic.
Then, tonight, I read an article, that originated in The Washington Post, that said a guy in Fresno arrived at his doctor’s office with a five-foot tapeworm, wrapped around a toilet paper holder, inside a plastic container. He said it came out of him and that he probably inherited it from the raw salmon he ate daily. Is everyone walking around with worms inside them?
Well, everyone is not my concern. I need to think about my next step. Do I take Duke’s medicine that is supposed to be administered to him again in three weeks? I can always say I misplaced it.
I certainly can’t go to my doctor and ask him to check me for worms. And I definitely can’t schedule my long-overdue colonoscopy. Imagine the doctor’s shock if he saw worms. His job is bad enough.