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Dr. Deb
Dr. Deb, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 10920
Experience:  I have been a practicing veterinarian for over 30 years.
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This is not a veterinary question as such, but here goes. I

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Hello, this is not a veterinary question as such, but here goes. I have OCD and have recently developed what I can only call "dog poo anxiety". Some time in June, I found dog mess on my shoe when I came home, and I probably walked around a bit before noticing. I did clean the shoe thoroughly and hoovered the flat, would that be enough to ensure hygiene? Also, several weeks later I found something which might have been dog mess on another shoe - though it seemed very hard so I dismissed it for quite a time before cleaning it off and now I have started obsessing it might have been dog feces after all... again, walking all over my floors is the problem. I did hoover in the meantime and I realise I have not had any symptoms and that my worries are highly irrational, but if you could put my mind at rest I would be extremely grateful. I do apologise for asking a rather off-topic question.
Best regards

Hello, Magdalena. I'm Dr. Deb and will do my best to help you today.

I'm sorry for this concern about fecal matter although I can understand why you might be worried about it. I do have a few additional questions to ask first if you don't mind:

1. When you said 'hoovered", could you be more specific as to exactly how you cleaned? This may be a cultural/linguistic issue so I just want to be sure that we're on the same page.

2. I'm assuming by not having any symptoms, you mean that you've not had any gi issues?

3. Do you have any pets?

Thanks, Deb

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
1. Hoovered = used a vacuum cleaner.
2. No gi issues whatsoever, but also feeling very well and fit overall
3. No, I do not have any petsThank you,


Thanks for the answers to my questions. I have just one more which I should have asked: do you have carpet or hardwood floors?


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
wall-to-wall carpets I'm afraid... (short pile)

Thanks. Please give me a few minutes to type back a response to you. Thanks for your patience.


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you


More than likely, several thorough vacuumings (if that's a word!) of the carpet would have been more than sufficient to remove any fecal material which might have found its way into your home. I suppose if you wanted to reassure yourself that the carpet is as clean as it can be, then you'd use a carpet cleaner (with soap and warm water) on them....although I suspect this has already occurred to you.

Personally, I don't think such a step would be necessary but if it provides peace of mind, if you're still obsessing about it (given your condition), then this may be something to consider.

I'm obviously not a human physician, but it would take ingestion of quite a large amount of fecal material to cause gastrointestinal issues unless, perhaps, one was immunocompromised; then it might take less.

However, normal, every-day procedures such as washing your hands and bathing every day are going to be sufficient to prevent contamination from even small amounts of material which may be in your environment....if, indeed, there's any there at all after your thorough cleaning.

These fears may not be rational ones but they are ones which clearly bother you so should be taken seriously. I think it's extremely unlikely that you're at risk and I hope that you're reassured by my saying so.


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your detailed answer. One more issue, if I may... I am particularly anxious about the possible presence of parasite eggs, esp. Toxocara, in the feces. I have done online research (of course!) and am I correct to assume that without being placed in the soil, any such eggs would dry out and become inactive? Or would they mature in the carpet anyway?

You're more than welcome.

Toxocara eggs shouldn't thrive in your carpet; I would expect them to desiccate and not pose a risk or you're removing them with your vaccuum. But, you do raise an interesting topic since there are extremely sticky eggs and are present just about everywhere. You wouldn't have to even notice obvious fecal material on your shoes for them to adhere to your shoes. It's not a common problem for most folks and not one I raise to add to your concerns but I did want to at least mention it.

One fairly obvious solution to me would be that you remove your shoes as soon as you arrive home; it seems many people are doing that these days. Then whatever risks there may be of tracking anything into your home would be completely eliminated.

Just a thought.


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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I do try to remove my shoes immediately but of course I have to take at least a few steps into my home and then other people who come to visit would usually keep their shoes on, so I understand that there is a limit to the "control" I can exercise over my home environment.
Thank you for being so patient with me, this conversation has really helped calm my anxiety.

You're more than welcome; glad I could help...and thanks for the rating; it's greatly appreciated.

If I were you, I'd insist that any visitors remove their shoes before walking around in your home or you could provide "booties" for them to wear but I understand that not everyone might feel comfortable imposing these restrictions on others.