Health Topics

Giant Kidney Worms Video

On January 3, 2008 during a routine spay, Dr. Vander Kooi discovered 5 giant kidney worms in the dog's abdomen.

When Baby Girl's abdomen was opened for her surgery, the surface of her bowel looked a bit discolored. Dr. Vander Kooi had a look around to see if perhaps there was something wrong and discovered Baby Girl was harboring a very rare infection of Dioctophyme renale, otherwise known as the Giant Kidney Worm. Five adult parasites ranging in length from 75cm to 116 cm and 1.5 cm in diameter were found in the abdominal cavity. The discoloration that Dr. Vander Kooi noted on the bowel was from the body reacting to the foreign invaders.

Baby Girl did have her Spay surgery but arrangements were made for her to return to the hospital for removal of the remaining worms that had completely destroyed her right kidney. The worms had eaten all of the kidney and were living in the sack where the kidney would otherwise be. Thankfully her left kidney was normal and except for getting larger from the additional work load, seemed to be functioning fine.

On January 17, 2007, Baby Girl had her right kidney removed at the Thunder Bay Veterinary Hospital by Dr. Vander Kooi and Dr. Miller. It contained an additional 3 worms. Had these worms not been removed, Baby Girl would have experienced kidney failure, as the worms would have invaded the left kidney as well. She is doing very well after her surgery.

Dioctophyme renale is an uncommon parasite that primarily infects mink and wolves but can infect domestic dogs as well as people if they ingest raw fish, frogs or crawfish that contain the intermediate form of the parasite.

Signs that a dog might have giant kidney worms is if blood is visible in their urine, kidney failure, or a poor coat and general unhealthy look.

Watch our video below:

(Warning: graphic content)