Separating Flies And Dogs For Canine Health

This post was written by bradylord on June 18, 2012
Posted Under: Flies And Dogs

If you have an outside dog, then you really need to read this. Although most of us only think about fleas and ticks when we think of pests that bother our canine friends, flies and dogs have a rivalry as well. Not only do flies annoy dogs by buzzing around their face and landing on them, some flies can bite. Flies that cause a lot of bleeding can cause anemia in your dog, or transmit diseases.

Although most flies are a nuisance to dogs, some can affect them more seriously than others. Some flies actually lay their eggs on dogs’ fur and skin surface. When those eggs are laid near an open wound or other sensitive area, the eggs hatch into maggots that can easily penetrate your dog’s skin, leading to irritation and possible infection. A fly infestation that leads to fly larvae living in a live animal is called “Myiasis” and it’s a horrifying thing to witness.

Although Myiasis is considered to be a neglectful disease it can affect any dog that’s at risk. Old, wounded, dirty or weak dogs are especially vulnerable to maggot infestations. While most flies and maggots are generally specific to certain species, it’s possible for a house, horn, black or stable fly to cause Myiasis in a dog.

Sometimes owners are aware of flies in house dogs’ ears, but frequently they’re not. If a dog is infested with maggots, they may only become aware of the situation because of the putrid odor their dog is exuding. For that reason, you should always keep a watchful eye out for flies on dog bedding or on their bodies.

One of the most common fly pests found on dogs are blue flies that are known as bottle or blowflies.  Although they’re frequently found on livestock, they can and do infest house pets too. Females lay their eggs on fur that’s soiled or badly matted and on areas of the skin that are moist and exposed. Blowfly eggs take about 72 hours to hatch, and the larva feed upon the host dog’s skin and tissues. If left untreated, they will produce a salivary enzyme that liquefies the animal’s flesh. As maggots feed, this enzyme will digest the canine’s skin, creating skin lesions in just a few hours that the larva then moves into. This sets a dog up for being at risk for severe secondary infections.

A dog with Myiasis needs to have the fly larvae removed from his wounds. A veterinarian is needed to mechanically remove them before the situation becomes life threatening. First, the vet will clip the fur closely to remove any mats and to get rid of dirt. At that point the maggots can be pulled out with tweezers or forceps, using great care not to cut or crush the larvae. After they are removed, the infected skin will be cleaned with a disinfectant like Betadine, and the dog is usually bathed with a pyrethroid medication that doesn’t have any alcohol. If a secondary bacterial skin infection has occurred, the vet may recommend that a course of antibiotics be followed.

Although it’s possible to cure Myiasis, the best control method is to learn how to get rid of flies that pester dogs in the first place. One of the most effective ways to accomplish this is by keeping the living environment of your pets as clean as possible. Don’t let dog waste pile up in the yard, as this is where flies like to lay their eggs. Keep all outdoor trash cans covered and use a plastic liner inside. If you have outdoor animals in addition to dogs, you’ll need to perform adequate fly control measures for them too. You can purchase a fly trap almost anywhere and they’re generally very inexpensive and effective. You can also use a pyrethroid-based pesticide to spray around your yard. If you choose to use one, be sure to discuss it with your veterinarian and to select one that’s safe for use around animals.

Regular grooming is the final step in keeping flies off your dog. While you’re brushing and bathing your dog, keep an eye open for wounds or suspicious lumps. If you see any, quickly take your dog to the veterinarian for follow up care.

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