What are mango worms in dogs?

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Being a pet parent can be one of the most rewarding experiences for a person. Owning a dog has proven health benefits, such as lowering blood pressure and reducing anxiety. Dogs make us happy, but sometimes, dogs can give us a whole new type of stress when they get sick or have parasites. It’s particularly stressful when those parasites happen to be Mango worms.

mango worms - dog with parasites scratching his ear

What is a mango worm?

Mango worms are the larvae of the mango fly, which is a tiny type of blowfly native to specific areas of Africa. Mango fly larvae are known for burrowing into the skin of mammals, including dogs and humans. Larvae will live under the skin until they hatch into maggots, which we know as worms.

Female mango flies lay their eggs in patches of sand or dirt that usually have the scent of urine or feces, but they have also been known to lay eggs in clothes, bedding, or other materials that may have been left outside.

What causes mango worms in dogs?

Dogs can get mango worms by coming into contact with the eggs by rolling in the patch of dirt where the mango fly laid its eggs. Since dogs are attracted to spots of urine (and tend to roll in them), this is how dogs can be exposed to the larvae.

dog with parasites, looking scruffy with patchy hair.

Once the larvae make contact with the host mammal, they will burrow painlessly under the skin. After they burrow in, the larvae will live and feed on soft tissues for two to three weeks. Boils will form wherever the parasite has made its home.

Can mango worms kill a dog?

Mango fly larvae feed on the soft tissues under the skin, and while they can infiltrate muscle as well, it’s not very likely. If a dog, especially a puppy, is exposed to a large amount of mango fly larvae (or some other types of worms), it’s possible for the worms to kill the dog.

In order for a dog to be killed by mango worms, it would most likely have to have thousands of worms that are untreated. This means that the dog would most likely be homeless as they wouldn’t have anyone noticing signs of distress.

For most of our pets, however, we will notice that something is wrong and seek the appropriate veterinary help or treatments.

How are mango worms in dogs treated?

Treatment for mango worms in dogs is similar to the treatment of humans. While mango worms can be treated at home, if a dog has a large amount, it’s best to seek out veterinary care as they can offer pain management during the treatment and infection prevention afterward.

Mango worms can be removed by injecting a solution into the boil, which can force the worm out. If a worm is particularly deep, it might require removal with forceps. Suffocating the worm with petroleum jelly or wax may force the worm out enough that it can be extracted as well. If neither of those work, the worm can be squeezed out, much like popping a pimple.

Check out this informative You Tube Mango Worms Video, that shows the removal from a dog

In order to prevent infection, it’s important that the worm is removed completely without pieces left behind and that the wound leftover is cleaned very well.

Final Thoughts

One thing to consider about mango flies is that they are not native to the United States, and for us pet parents who worry, we need to remember that this makes it incredibly unlikely that our pups in the U.S. will get mango worms. Being mindful, and giving your dog regular baths and checkups can be good ways to prevent parasites.

Citations

https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/health-benefits/index.html

https://www.healthline.com/health/mango-fly#pictures

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