We have seen a number of people asking for tips on this so we decided to publish this article in an attempt to help any of our readers and their pets. Not only are mango worms painful for your poor dog but they can also be relatively easy to avoid depending on where you live.
How Do Dogs Get Mango Worms
There are three main ways that your dog can end up with a mango worm infestation and unfortunately, only one of them is realistically preventable by the owner. Depending on where you live and the time of year, one of these ways may become more if a risk to your dog than the others.
Contact With Soil
Although contact with the soil is a pretty general way for your dog to get mango worms, there are three main ways that your dog can interact with soil and end up with an infection. This is due to the adult female mango fly laying her eggs in soil, a few days later they will hatch and within around two weeks the larvae have to find a host or they will perish.
Without a doubt, the most common way that a dog can end up with a mango worm infection is due to it digging in the ground where an adult female mango fly has laid her eggs. As the eggs and larvae are both sticky and can attach themselves to your dog, digging can end up with your dog getting an infestation of mango works due to contact with either the eggs or the larvae.
Laying On It
As the adult female mango flys tend to bury their eggs a few inches under the surface of the dirt, your dog simply laying on the ground where eggs are will usually not result in direct contact with the eggs and a resulting infestation.
Once the eggs hatch and the mango worm larvae start to search for a host, they will usually crawl around in the dirt looking for a potential host. This can draw them to the surface of the soil and if your dog lays on the ground near them, it can result in an infestation of mango worms. This threat is more prevalent on hot days as the larvae will be more active in moving around in search of a host.
Walking On It
Similar to laying on the soil, your dog can end up with a mango worm larvae infection just by walking over dirt that has the larvae. Again, this is more prevalent during hot days due to the larvae being more active searching for a potential host.
Although a flystrike is usually less common than your dog ending up with an infestation due to direct contact with soil, they can become a major threat later in the breeding season when the female mango flies are desperate for an easy host for their eggs and larvae.
A flystrike is essentially when an adult female mango fly will lay her eggs directly on your dog to increase the chances of her larvae hatching and having a higher chance of success. Another thing that can increase the chances of your dog being the victim of a mango fly flystrike is if it has any open cuts as they will not only attract the mango flies but also act as an easy target for them.
If your dog currently has a mango fly infestation and the larvae have caused open wounds on your dog then this can attract more adult female flies to your dog to lay their eggs. If this is left untreated then it can quickly get out of hand and potentially result in the death of your dog.
Letting your dog sleep in damp bedding or play with damp clothing is another common way that it can end up with a mango fly infestation. The adult female mango worm fly will sometimes lay her eggs in the clothing or bedding and direct contact with your dog ends up in an infection.
Thankfully, this is an easy way to prevent an infestation. Simply hang any damp clothing up high away from your dog. Be sure to always iron your clothing once it has dried as this will kill any eggs that have been laid on the items. Try your best to do the same with your dog’s bedding too if you have recently washed it and never give your dog its bed back if it is damp.
How To Treat Mango Worms
There are three main ways that dog owners are able to treat mango worm infestations in their dogs depending on the severity of the infestation.
Squeeze Them Out
The most common way is to squeeze the larvae out of the hold they have borrowed in your dog and dispose of them. Depending how badly your dog has been infested this can sometimes take hours and be very painful for your dog. It can often be better to take your dog to your local veterinarian so they are able to administer pain medication during the process.
When squeezing the mango fly larvae out of your dog’s body be sure to take care not to pop them in their holes. This can result in an increased chance of infection in the hole if not treat quickly and can sometimes lead to the death of your dog. The larvae are actually quite resilient to the pressures of being squeezed out of dogs and them popping is actually quite rare.
Although potentially not safe for work, the video below shows how easy yet time-consuming it can be to have to squeeze mango worms out of your dog once it has been infested with the larvae.
Cover The Holes
If you want a way to remove the larvae without the risk of popping them then you can cover the holes in your dog. This will help to cut off the air supply to the larvae and force them to burrow out of your dog of their own free will. There are two main substances that you can use to cover the holes.
Petroleum Jelly is a cheap, quick and easy item that many households will already have that you can use. Simply cover it across the affected areas in your dog. Within hours the larvae should start to climb out of your dog in an attempt to get oxygen.
The problem with this method is that there will be live mango worm Petroleum Jelly all over your house and yard. To minimize this, try to reduce the movement available to your dog. Leash it to a post in your yard or put it in a small room or fenced off area. This will help to keep the affected area of the dropping mango worm larvae as small as possible.
Another potential problem is that your dog may take to trying to lick the Petroleum Jelly off itself and provide some of the larvae with oxygen. This can end up in a number of the mango worms staying in your dog’s body. You can minimize the risk of your dog licking the Petroleum Jelly off itself by using a doggy cone or a muzzle if you have one available.
Ductape is another quick, easy, and cheap item that you may already have around your house that you can use. Simply apply it to the affected area of your dog to cut the oxygen supply off and force them to try to burrow out of your dog’s flesh.
Although the mango worm larvae will not drop all over your house and there is no risk that your dog can lick the duct tape off, this method does come with a number of problems. The first one is that the larvae are unable to fully de-borrow and if they die inside your dog then they can be a little harder to get out without popping them. On the flipside, they will try to de-borrow from your dog potentially making it easier to squeeze the majority of the larvae out.
The final drawback of using ductape is that it will eventually have to be removed. As it is already applied to a sensitive area on your dog this can be very painful. A quick and easy way to avoid the pain is to give your dog a warm bath. Not only can this help to get the ductape off without issue but it can also help to make it easy to get the larvae out.
Although rare, surgery can sometimes be required depending on the stage of the infection. This only tends to be required for the most severe cases of mango worm infestations in your dog and should always be done by a professional veterinarian.