Myiasis In Dogs - Symptoms, Removal And Treatment

By Ameera Mills. Updated: September 2, 2018
Myiasis In Dogs - Symptoms, Removal And Treatment

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Myiasis is a form of parasitism which is carried by dipterous larvae (neoptera insects) such as: flies, mosquitoes and even horseflies. They are laid in living or dead tissues of vertebrate animals, from which they feed. This process ensures their survival, growth and development.

Have you noticed any worms or maggots on your dog’s skin or body? If so, take a look at this AnimalWised article. Here we will tell you everything you need to know about Myasis in dogs, including its: symptoms, treatment and process of extraction. We also cover facts about whether it is contagious and how it can be prevented.

You may also be interested in: Cuterebra in Cats - Causes, Symptoms and Removal

What is canine Myiasis (maggots) ?

F.W. Hope (1840), an English entomologist, was the first to use the word "myiasis" to define this infestation of diptera in humans. Zumpt, author of Myasis in Man and Animals In The Old World(1964), later detailed the description of Myiasis. he suggested that insects spent time feeding on a hosts dead tissue, bodily fluids or ingested food.

These insects, in their adult stage, take advantage of the orifices or wounds of a host. They use this advantage in favor of depositing their eggs, as a way to continue their biological cycle. However, it can sometimes happen that certain species are able to penetrate through intact dermis. This pathology can affect all types of vertebrate animals in any region, specifically during the wettest months of the year.

Myiasis In Dogs - Symptoms, Removal And Treatment - What is canine Myiasis (maggots) ?

Types of Myiasis in dogs

There are three different criteria used to classify the types of myiasis in dogs. Here, we will mention the species that cause and lay this Myiasis:

Clinical point of view:

  • Traumatic myiasis: Megaselia rufipes, Chrysomyia albicans, Phormia regina, Calliphora spp, Lucilia spp, Sarcophaga spp and Wohlfahrtia magnifica.
  • Ocular myiasis: O. ovis, R. purpureus, M. scalaris, W. magnificent and S. carnaria.
  • Auricular myiasis: O. ovis, and W. magnificent.
  • Nasal, buccal and sinus myiasis: W. magnifica, Sarcophaga carnaria, Calliphora vomitoria, Oestrus ovis, and Rhinoestrus purpureus.
  • Anal and vaginal myiasis: W. magnificent, S. carnaria and Sarcophaga hemoroidalis.

Reproductive behavior:

  • Compulsory or specific myiases: dipterous parasites that need a host for development in their larval phase.
  • Semi-specific myiases and accidental miasis:here we mention the diptera that infests decomposing bodies or organic matter. It may happen that they opportunistically invade living tissue.

Invasion processes:

  • Primary invader: penetrate the skin or take advantage of holes in the body.
  • Secondary or tertiary invader: take advantage of wounds and traumas.

What is the life cycle of a maggot?

Diptera that are responsible for causing Myiasis usually have different forms in their biological cycle. They travel through a complete four-stage metamorphic cycle: egg, larva, pupa and adult. In the last two phases they do not live in the host.

The larvae secrete an enzyme that can damage the dermis and cause several different health problems. If left untreated, the wound will increase in size and a dark discharge will appear. This can cause the attraction of other diptera. Additional maggots will then also begin to deposit their eggs which creates a refuge or breeding ground for worms in a dog.

Myiasis In Dogs - Symptoms, Removal And Treatment - What is the life cycle of a maggot?

Is there a predisposition to Myiasis?

Any animal that does not receive adequate medical prevention measure or sanity control is susceptible to Myiasis. Therefore animals that are: abandoned, sick, convalescent or live in wet and dirty climates are more predisposed to maggot infestation.

Symptoms of Myiasis in dogs

There are different types of myiasis, these include: cutaneous, cavitary, systemic and wound. Therefore, in some cases symptoms are less apparent than in others. In addition, there are several different cases of cutaneous myiasism: forunculoid, rampant, traumatic and serpingosa. Cutaneous Myiasis, can also progress systemically therefore infecting different organs.

In the early stages of a Myiasis infesation you might notice a: small bite, lesion or abscess in the dermis. Generally in a hairless area. Laterm you will notice that this wound will grow and a pustule will form where bloody fluid will emerge. Pay attention to these symptoms:

  • Ulcers
  • Boils
  • Skin irritation
  • Skin lesions
  • Movement of worms
  • Edemas
  • Fever
  • Intense itching
  • Ear movements
  • Pain
  • Discomfort
  • Scrape
  • Excessive licking
  • Diarrhea
  • Anorexia

At this point (and if left untreated) the larvae can penetrate deeper into the dermis layer. It wil then form nodules, or simply create a much larger abscess. This process can lead to the a serious infection and in some cases, even shock.

Myiasis In Dogs - Symptoms, Removal And Treatment - Symptoms of Myiasis in dogs


Diagnosis only requires a simple physical examination by a veterinarian.

Therefore, if you notice any of these symptoms in your dog or assume that your dog has been infected we suggest visiting your veterinarian as soon as possible. A professional will be able to diagnose and treat the Myiasis accordingly.

Treatment of Myiasis in dogs

Treatment of Myiasis in dogs should always be done under the supervision of a veterinarian. These small carnivorous "worms" can cause secondary pathologies, so you should never try to cure Myiasis without the help of a specialist.

The first step in treating Myiasis in dogs is cleaning and disinfecting the area. Some specialists however choose to directly perform the extraction and clean the wound after.

How to extract worms in dogs_

The removal of worms in wounds should always be done with the use of a clamp. It is a laborious and slow process. The reason for this is to avoid accidentally breaking the larvae while trying to remove it from the parasite infected area. This process might need to be repeated several times.

Use of antiparasitics, drugs and hygiene.

After removing the fly larvae, a veterinarian will shave the affected area to prevent bacteria or eggs from remaining on the fur and dermis. They will then apply an antiseptic solution, and remove any dead tissue in favor of skin healing.

A local antibiotic and curabichera (a product that is also known as "matabichera" or "antigusanera") in aerosol or paste, should then be applied. Finally, the affected area should be bandaged to keep it clean and deter any contamination.

In some cases it may be necessary that a vet prescribe the dog with some antibiotics, fluid therapy or other measures appropriate for the individual case. Sometimes, if the infestation is quite severe, you might have to visit a veterinarian more than once to remove and treat the maggot infested area.

Myiasis In Dogs - Symptoms, Removal And Treatment - Treatment of Myiasis in dogs

Can Myiasis be transmitted to humans?

As mentioned before, Myiasis can affect any vertebrate animal, therefore, Myiasis can be transmitted to humans.

People who live in a home with a dog that is suffering from Myiasis should take certain precautions in order to avoid possible parasitization. It is essential to monitor any wound and cover it, remain incredibly hygienic, use insect repellents and avoid dense wet heated areas. You should be extra careful if you have a baby, are sick or elderly.

Prevention of canine miasis

Although Myiasis is not a common problem in large cities, it is more common in rural areas where dogs regularly flock to rivers and forests. In terms of prevention, it is sufficient enough the simply check the dermis of your dog regularly, paying special attention to hairless areas.

Maintaining a good level of hygiene, including brushing and bathing your dog regularly. This will help you quickly notice if your dog has been bitten, which will prevent more serious complications. In addition, you should always follow your dog’s deworming and vaccination schedule strictly.

It is also very important to go to the veterinarian as soon as you notice any symptoms mentioned above, especially itching, scratching and the appearance of infected wounds.

Myiasis In Dogs - Symptoms, Removal And Treatment - Prevention of canine miasis

This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to Myiasis In Dogs - Symptoms, Removal And Treatment, we recommend you visit our Parasitic diseases category.

  • Soler Cruz, M. D (2000) El estudio de las miasis en España durante los últimos cien años. Departamento de Parasitología. Facultad de Farmacia. Campus de Cartuja. Universidad de Granada. 18071 Granada.
  • R. Farkas, M.J.R. Hall, A.K. Bouzagou, Y. Lhor, K. Khallaayoune (2009) Traumatic myiasis in dogs caused by Wohlfahrtia magnifica and its importance in the epidemiology of wohlfahrtiosis of livestock. Medical and Veteriny Entomology Volume 23, Issue s1 June 2009 Pages 80–85
  • H. J. Schnur, D. Zivotofsky, A. Wilamowski (2009) Myiasis in domestic animals in Israel Veterinary Parasitology Volume 161, Issues 3–4, 12 May 2009, Pages 352-355
  • Falconí Flores M. A. (2013) Uso de nitenpyram en el tratamiento de miasis en perros en los valles aldeñaos a quito Universidad de las Américas, Facultad de ciencias&

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