No matter how much they love their furbabies, dog parents must admit that they can genuinely gross them out by eating the worst kind of things. This includes eating squirmy white maggots.
The question is – what should you do if your dog ate maggots?
Here is a detailed overview of what maggots are and how pups can get hold of them. Also included is information for protecting your pet from ingesting these larvae and the dangers of myiasis in canines.
If your pup has just gobbled up some slimy maggots, don’t panic. They may be gross and disgusting for us and may resemble some parasites such as roundworms, but in fact, maggots are simply larvae of ordinary flies and are loaded in protein.
Canines have digestive systems capable of digesting live grubs and neutralizing their potential ill effects.
But if your furry friend has eaten a lot, or if you have a small-sized dog that has eaten enough live maggots, it may experience some adverse effects due to problems with digesting the larvae.
Some common side effects include vomiting or stomach pain, which usually go away quickly without any further problems. If you notice that your pet is showing more severe symptoms, such as sudden behavioral changes, lethargy, or a loss of appetite, you should call your vet for advice on the best action to take!
While the maggots themselves are not dangerous for dogs, the bacteria they may have been feeding on may be harmful to your pet. So, it depends on where the grubs were before they got ingested by your furry companion.
Maggots can usually be found in spoiled food, rotting meat, dead animals, and other nasty stuff. This means that they may contain some pathogenic bacteria and viruses in them.
These slimy larvae can also be found on dog feces outside as well. Since many dogs love eating dog poo, chances are they can eat some larvae along with the feces, too, if given a chance.
So, if your pup has coprophagia and eats feces, it is a good idea to contact your vet for a deworming prescription. This will help protect your pet from potential infections and infestations.
Another danger for canines is the maggots or flies coming into contact with open wounds. The maggots can cause a serious condition called myiasis by latching on to these cuts or wounds.
My Dog Ate Rotten Meat – What Are The Dangers?
Canines have tough stomachs, but in some cases, they too are prone to food poisoning after eating spoiled meat or other foods. This poisoning can occur due to pathogenic bacterial infections such as staphylococcus, salmonella, or others.
Unfortunately, our four-legged friends can be inquisitive, have strong scavenger instincts, or may simply love the smell and taste of rotten meat.
Some of the most common adverse effects of eating rotten meat on dogs can include vomiting and diarrhea. This can lead to dehydration, which is particularly dangerous for smaller dogs, more sensitive pups, and puppies.
More severe food poisoning symptoms after eating spoiled meat can include excessive drooling, a loss of appetite, unusual and sudden aggression, shivering, tremors, loss of balance, seizures, and even loss of consciousness.
My Dog Ate A Dead Animal – What Are The Dangers?
Some dogs will seek down and eat a dead wild animal when given a chance. Unfortunately, by ingesting the carcass of a dead animal, your pet may get infected by different parasites, such as coccidian, roundworms, and more. The signs of such parasitic infections include diarrhea, vomiting, and a lack of appetite.
Plus, your pup may suffer from poisoning if it eats a rat or other animal that has died from ingesting poison. The signs that your furbaby may suffer from secondary poisoning are diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, coughing up or vomiting blood, pale gums, jaundice, increased thirst and urination, and others. The symptoms may vary depending on the amount of toxin ingested by your furry friend and the poison that killed the dead wild animal.
My Dog Ate Poop – Now What?
Yes, many dogs like to eat their own feces or any other kind of poop. This can be due to a number of medical or behavioral issues.
Eating feces is known as coprophagia. It can be caused by a lack of nutrients in a dog’s diet, another health issue, or simply due to curiosity, boredom, or anxiety.
In any case, you should be worried if your furry companion eats feces. Especially droppings from wild animals, which can be swarming with various harmful parasites and bacteria.
There are various ways to prevent dogs from eating poop. Some include addressing the underlying health issues, changing their diet, positive reinforcement training, and other lifestyle changes.
Speak to your veterinarian for the best advice if your furbaby has the habit of eating poop.
What is Myiasis – And How Can Maggots Cause it?
Myiasis is a medical term for the condition in which the maggots infest your dog’s skin or lesions. This usually occurs in dogs or other live animals which are weak, paralyzed, have persistent skin problems, have wounds or cuts, or have urine-soaked skin.
It can happen by the larvae latching onto the open wound, another part of the dog’s skin or body, or when a fly lays its eggs on it. As the larvae grow and eat, they dig into the wound and become deeply rooted. In severe cases, the maggots may reach deep enough and start eating the dog’s internal organs.
With maggots living inside a pup, it will start experiencing adverse effects from the toxins and enzymes released by the larvae, including lethargy, fever, and shock.
Needless to say, having maggots feeding off of your dog and living on or in it is a much worse scenario than your pet eating a few of these larvae.
Myiasis is a serious medical condition requiring a veterinarian’s professional treatment. The vet will remove all grubs and thus avoid further infestations and the potential release of harmful toxins and enzymes in your pet’s body by the larvae.
There are two main myiasis types in dogs, including:
- Cutaneous myiasis – in which the larvae infest the dog’s skin or open wound
- Cavitary myiasis – this is less common and is the case when the maggots infest the dog’s mouth, nose, ears, or other cavities.
Is My Dog At Risk of Myiasis?
If your furry companion has persistent skin problems which cause damage to the skin, cuts, or open wounds, it is at a greater risk of a maggot infestation.
Keep in mind that a dog can quickly enlarge even the tiniest cuts on its skin if left to scratch or bite itself.
An existing wound may also get bigger if your pup plays roughly or fights with other dogs or accidentally scratches it on a branch or another object.
Dogs which suffer from consistent allergic reactions, infections, and other skin rashes are more prone to myiasis than healthy dogs with no skin problems.
Another risk factor for maggot infestation is bad hygiene. This is especially common for paralyzed dogs that are not cleaned from their urine or feces.
Usually, the larvae will infect areas of the dog’s skin or cavities that are out of reach by the dog’s mouth. Otherwise, a healthy pup should be able to easily remove the eggs and larvae with its tongue and teeth.
Dogs lick their wounds to help them heal faster. By licking their wounds, they can also eliminate any eggs laid by flies.
Myiasis is more common in the summer, in areas where it is hot and humid.
Your furbaby may attract maggots if it spends a lot of time playing in grassy areas with many wild animals around. It can also get infected by other domestic dogs through play and interaction.
Signs That My Dog Has a Maggot Infestation
If you are worried about your pup being infested by maggots for one reason or another, then you should watch for one or more of the following symptoms of myiasis.
The most common sign that your dog may have maggots on it is if the larvae are visible on its coat, skin, or wound. Usually, you should be able to spot single maggots on the body of your dog, even though the fly can lay over 150 eggs at a time.
Eggs, too, can be seen on the coat or skin of your pet. They are the size and shape of rice grains and come in large amounts.
Since the larvae themselves are quite large, they can be seen easily. An average maggot is about ¼ to 1 inch in size and is white and usually swirling around.
If the grub has already started to dig into the pup’s skin, you should be able to see the hole which it has made to burrow itself under your furbaby’s skin.
Some telltale signs that maggots may infest your furry companion include incessant itching and biting, scraping itself, fidgeting, and other hyper or unusual activity.
You should check the back, the head, and the area between and behind the ears first, because they are the hardest to reach by the dog’s nails, paws, or mouth. Also, look for maggots, fly eggs, or other signs of infestations in the wetter and warmer spots of your pup’s body, such as the anus, between the toes, and others.
How is Myiasis Prevented and Treated?
Prevention is the best way to ensure that your pup is safe from maggot infestations.
This means following your dog’s deworming and vaccination calendar very closely and also regular checking of the dog’s skin and coat for irregularities, cuts, wounds, or others. If you find a cut on the pup’s skin, clean it well, apply antiseptic, and then cover it with a breathable and sterile bandage.
Also, make sure to keep your dog clean by bathing and brushing it regularly. If your dog is prone to urine and feces sticking on its coat or skin, make sure to clean those up regularly to avoid a maggot infestation.
All dogs need to move around and exercise to stay well, but some pups are less active for one reason or another. If your furry companion is of the less active types or has mobility problems, prevent it from laying down and spending too much time lying in grassy or outdoor areas where there could be rodents and maggots.
Regularly check the dog’s skin, coat, ears, anus, mouth, and entire body for maggots, holes from burrowing, or eggs.
If you find that grubs have already infested your pet’s skin or body, you must seek veterinary care as soon as possible. Your vet will remove the visible maggots as quickly and as safely as possible.
In most cases, the veterinarian will kill the larvae using hydrogen peroxide first and then will disinfect the hole or wound using iodine or another antibacterial disinfectant.
After that, the wound will be wrapped tightly so that any remaining larvae suffocate and die. This bandage, though, must be replaced daily to keep the area clean and let the wound breathe.
Your veterinarian may prescribe antibiotics or other medicaments if the infestation is more severe and the larvae have dug too deep into the pup’s body.
If your furry companion ate a few maggots, then it is highly likely that it will be okay and won’t suffer any adverse effects or repercussions. Normally, the dog’s digestive system’s acids will kill and digest any larvae.
Keep in mind that larvae usually feed on rotting meat and food, animal corpses, feces, and other unpleasant stuff, so there is a risk of your pup becoming infected with harmful bacteria, viruses, or parasites, especially if it eats the food along with the maggots.
But while all this sounds horrible, the risk of your furbaby becoming infested by grubs is even worse. Such an infestation can occur on open wounds or with dogs with poor hygiene or skin problems. It can also be passed from one dog to another or through the grass.
So, check your dog’s skin and coat, as well as its ears, nose, mouth, anus, and entire body, for any visible maggots, holes, and other signs that it may have contracted myiasis.