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Thread: Husband's phobia about Toxocara

  1. #1

    Question Husband's phobia about Toxocara

    Does anyone else know anything about this one please? My husband has a fear of dogs - not actually scared of the dogs themselves but he honestly believes that if he touches a dog then he will go blind.

    This apparently stems back to when he was a child and watched a Nationwide program about Toxocaracanis and it was saying that this disease is spread from dogs and in some cases it can cause loss of sight.

    I love dogs and he actually bought me a wee yorkie about 5 years ago. It was very difficult for him because even if the dog so much as sat beside him, he had to go and change his shirt and trousers. He would then wipe the couch with bleach or dettol. He cannot understand how I can pat the dog and cuddle her and play with her and not be worried about going blind.

    This has been enough to instill fear and phobia into him so much so that as the years have gone on the phobia has grown and grown until nowadays he washes his hands with dettol or bleach after touching anything ie., door handles etc.... Most of the time though, he uses rubber gloves.

    He gets so angry with tghe rest of us in the family and is constantly telling me that "I better wash my hands with dettol".

    He is obsessed with the dogs bottom! - It may sound funny but everytime she comes in from the garden he has to inspect her rear end and is always telling me that she has a dirty bottom and I have to clean it. He then goes on for ages about he is going to be blind by the morning. He then picks at his eyes and does a bizarre routine of snapping his fingers, stamping his feet and whistling. When I asked him why he did that - he said that if he didn't he would go blind.

    I know that the behaviour is a bit OCD but my husband wont hear of it. He also says that his is a real phobia that can damage you its not like being afraid of spiders or cotton wool or beans or something like that - he thinks that's just stupid.

    Any help would be appreciated. Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    , , United Kingdom.

    Re: Husband's phobia about Toxocara

    Hi Jenny

    It must be a nightmare for both you and your husband.

    He obviously cannot help his behaviour and like you say it has progressed to where he is at now.

    Try and get him to the doctor and explain how his behaviour is affecting you both. The doctor will definately set the ball in motion for him.


  3. #3

    Re: Husband's phobia about Toxocara

    Thanks Sheena.....Yes, it is a bit of a nightmare at times. If it were just the two of us, it wouldn't be so bad but he expects the children to be as irrational as him too. My daughter came home from school one day with dog poo on her shoes - it wasn't good enough that I said I would clean it - he threw her shoes in the bin!!

    I was sitting on the couch the other week eating chocolate and some of it must have dropped down beside me. When I stood up and went into the kitchen, he yelled that there was dog poo all over the couch. I came back and explained that it wasn't that but it was chocolate - he wouldn't believe me. He said that I was just saying that. The next thing was all the lights were on, the dogs backside was being inspected for anything and he was picking at his eyes saying he was going to go blind.

    Eventually, I wiped some off the couch and licked it to prove to him that it was chocolate and he just got angry with me saying I was mocking him (which I wasn't)....I was merely trying to give him proof that it was only chocolate. Oh boy...what a state he gets in at times.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    , , United Kingdom.

    Re: Husband's phobia about Toxocara

    hi jenny
    i remember that programme in the 1970s and we were told to avoid dog faeces because of the risk of toxocara,but whilst i was aware of the issue,i never got phobic about be honest,if i may shoot from the hip,your husband needs to accept that he is a phobic and that his rituals are part of ocd.i dont think he can move forward until he does so.ironically i am terrified of dogs,but for vastly different reasons.i try to take the pressure off my wife by freely owning my fears and phobias.and this seems to work,even to the point of us laughing about them.
    kindest regards ade x

  5. #5

    Re: Husband's phobia about Toxocara

    Awe thanks Ade,

    I think part of the problem we have is that my husband will accept that he has a phobia but has said that he will never go and talk to someone about it. He doesn't understand why he should.

    In actual fact, I think to be honest he wonders why everyone hasn't got the same fear of going blind. He knows I have a phobia (I'm an Emetophobe - fear of vomiting) but he seems to think that his is a lot worse than mine.

    To help him, I have tried looking up sites on the internet to explain just how unlikely it is to get toxacara....I know that it does exist and in severe cases there have been known cases of blindness caused by it but what I try and reassure him with is that in the very first instance you have to ingest the eggs from an infected animal. As long as you regularly worm your dog which most responsible owners do, then you are killing off the worms that cause it.

    Of course, it doesn't help when he sees in the vets room all about dangers of toxacara and washing hands after patting your pets etc...That just adds fuel to his fears...

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2008

    Re: Husband's phobia about Toxocara

    Sorry to hear about all this. You are ofcourse right to say its a phobia. The normal definition is along the lines of being a disproportionate response to a real or perceived danger. Eg. even with heights there is some real danger involved just not the amount a phobic would experience. The clicking stamping is probably a ritual that developed in childhood - "make sure there is nothing on your shoes dear", etc.

    Sadly it is going to be tough to get anywhere unless he can accept that its a problem. Your GP might be able to refer him for CBT or similar counselling. If he's too embarised to go I have encountered a couple of books which might help you both:
    A complete idiots guide to conquering fear and anxiety by Sharon Heller.
    Living with Fear by Isaac M Marks (2nd edition)

    The second book is older and based more on Behavoural Therapy (BT) than Cognitive BT (CBT). But it has some good info and advice.

    You may even find them in your local library. The first step really is for your husband to accept there is a problem. This may be hard or it may just be embarisment. It will not get better on its own. It may not even do so if he tries self help or counselling - but there is a much bigger chance.

    If you can get him to see the problem then get him on here too - at least he can see that we are all as weird as each other just in such inventively different ways. Good Luck.
    Kevin, Southend-on-Sea, Essex, UK
    Probably GAD & Phobias. Anxiety and renewed Depression medicated (Venlafaxine). Trying to improve.

  7. #7

    Re: Husband's phobia about Toxocara

    Hi Jenny. I also suffer from a fear of Toxocara.I know how your Husband feels.I have thrown out 4 pairs of shoes over the past month alone as i fear that i may have walked in dog poo. I cannot walk down the street without watching every step i take. My problem got worse after i had my second baby last year. I make my family take off their shoes at the front door and i dread the day i have to let my baby walk down the street.. I suffer from OCD and i know that this is the reson i fear toxocara so much. I have had CBT in the past which did not work for me. I am going to try hypnotherapy to see if that helps. i will keep you posted.

  8. #8

    Re: Husband's phobia about Toxocara

    I too suffer from dog poo phobia! Please see my introduction for the fu run down.
    I have a pair of shoes that has walked in the same office as someone who didnít realise they had walked in dog poo, and now itís attached to mine, the germs.
    I walk past them on the rack every day frightened and itís all over my walls since my nephews had a sock playfight and their socks could of hit the shoes and now my walls, so I walk through my hall way petrified.

    Iím in the middle of getting help, and trying new meds but not sure what to do in the mean time??

    I canít touch the floor, I have to wear house shoes 24/7, nothing it put in the floor, if it drops down it has to be binned or washed.

    I would love nothing more than to sit down on the floor without thinking like my friends and family but the fear is too much

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2013

    Re: Husband's phobia about Toxocara

    Hey MollyMoo... Again, this thread is from 2009. The OP and most of the members that replied haven't been on the forum in equally as long. I know you're looking for advice and support but you may become frustrated at the lack of replies from these old threads. That said, at least by searching and reading them, you can gain some solace that you're not alone in your fears. Perhaps reading the articles, educating yourself concerning your illness and seeking professional real life help would be in order.

    Positive thoughts
    "Eat. Drink. Enjoy the work you do. Be thankful for the blessings God gives you in this life. Live, love and seek out the things that bring your heart joy. The rest is meaningless... Like chasing the wind." King Solomon

    The best help is the help you give yourself!

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