All dog owners know that their canine companions can end up with worms. Most of the time, you hear about roundworms, tapeworms, and hookworms. The most serious are heartworms, which can be lethal.
But have you ever heard of mango worms? Unlike worms that affect other types of the body, such as the digestive system, mango worms live inside a dog’s skin.
Just because mango worms aren’t dangerous doesn’t mean they can be left untreated. Your dog’s skin will get terribly irritated, and you will end up with a distressed pet.
About the Mango Worm Parasite In Dogs
You’ve probably heard of other parasites affecting dogs, such as ringworm. Mango worms are less well-known, but they are quite common. Unlike many other parasites that infect the digestive system, mango worms target the skin and fur.
These parasites originally came from Africa. You may sometimes hear people call them mango flies, as they’re technically tropical blowflies. They want to live in your dog’s skin because they can eat that material.
Mango worms get into your dog’s skin when they’re larvae. When they’re inside the skin, they consume that tissue to fuel their growth. That is why they’re parasites: they feed off your dog.
Are There Mango Worms in the United States?
Mango worms are much rarer in the United States than they are on the continent of Africa. If you live on the continent of Africa, your dog is much more likely to end up with mango worms than if you live elsewhere.
Some places where mango worms are common are Uganda and South Africa. If you live somewhere where mango worms are common, your dog is at high risk of ending up with this kind of infestation.
How Do Mango Worms Infect Dogs?
Mango worms often hide in the soil, especially when it contains feces or urine. The soil is where mango worms deposit their eggs, and these eggs look for a host. Why? Well, they want to live in your dog’s skin.
If you’re a dog owner, you know how much dogs adore playing in the dirt. And it’s through doing this that they often end up with mango worms on their skin. After the eggs hatch, the larvae make their way into the skin. They do this by burrowing, causing irritation and distress for your dog.
The larvae eat your dog’s tissue to fuel their growth. Each larvae doing this causes a red boil. Inside this boil is a maggot worm. Once the maggots are full-grown, they burst out of the skin.
Mango Worm Symptoms
Recognizing your dog has mango worms can be tricky, as there are often not any symptoms at first. Your dog may not feel anything after the larvae get onto and in their skin.
Symptoms usually won’t start until the mango worm larvae within the skin start erupting. They need to do this when they mature.
There may be boils or pimples on your dog’s body if they have mango worms. Your dog will probably scratch a lot and try to bite at his skin. He will probably also seem generally distressed.
Let’s take a look at some symptoms of a mango worm infestation in your dog:
- Skin redness
- Blisters or boils
- Difficulty sleeping
- Unusual behavior
Getting Rid of Mango Worms in Your Dog
Bring the dog to a vet right away if you suspect he has mango worms. The veterinarian will decide the best way to proceed with treatment. You must not attempt to do any of these things yourself. Your dog could end up with a serious infection if you do.
Your veterinarian will probably say that your canine companion needs special injections to deal with his mango worms. That may include epinephrine and lidocaine injections. They are helpful in getting rid of the mango worm larvae.
Suffocating the Larvae
When veterinarians decide to use this method, they need to take off each boil’s scab. They will then put on a substance like sterile wax or jelly to suffocate the larvae. It goes over the black dots specifically.
Popping the Boils
With this method, your veterinarian will squeeze the boils or simples. It must be done in a sterile way to avoid infection. The vet will take out each larva.
Be aware that your dog is at risk of skin infections when they have mango worms. The presence of the worms causes severe irritation, and if bacteria gets in, your pet could end up with a potentially life-threatening infection.
Mango Worm Prevention for Dogs
A crucial element to preventing a mango worm infestation is remembering where they come from: the soil. Stop your dog from playing in soil that might be contaminated with these worms. In other words, try to prevent him from coming in contact with soil that might contain feces or urine.
Keep an eye on your dog’s coat and give him regular grooming. Keeping his coat and skin clean will go a long way in keeping him healthy.
Can Mango Worms Infect Humans?
It’s unlikely that mango worms will ever infect a human. After all, you don’t have fur for the parasites to latch onto to get into your skin, and you don’t roll around in the dirt like your canine companion.
One way that a human could end up with mango worms, however, is if their clothes get contaminated with mango fly eggs. It could happen, for example, if you hang your clothes out to dry in a place that has mango flies.
Final Thoughts: Mango Worms in Dogs
As we’ve learned here, mango worms can be a severe problem for dogs. While they’re rare in the United States, you should still be aware of the issue. If you live in areas of the world where mango worms are common, be especially vigilant in stopping an infestation in your pet’s skin. Bring your dog to a vet immediately for treatment if you suspect your dog has an infection.