What are Mango Worms?
Mango worms, also called sand fleas, are parasitic larvae of the mango fly that infect dogs in tropical and subtropical regions, especially in Africa. The flies lay eggs on soil, manure, or on dogs directly. The emerging larvae then penetrate a dog’s skin to mature. These worms cause painful lesions and distress, but can be controlled with proper treatment.
Itchy Skin and Lesions
The worms moving and biting under the skin creates severe itchiness. Dogs will lick, bite and scratch persistently at affected areas. Small red bumps or pustules develop on the skin surface, often leaking pus. Hair loss around lesions may occur.
Visible Protruding Worms
In advanced cases, the telltale sign is visible worms protruding from pustules. The worms resemble tiny threads emerging from the skin ranging from white to yellow. They may be embedded slightly or prominently sticking out. Areas around the eyes, legs, anus and belly are commonly affected.
Secondary Skin Infections
The worms and their waste products contamination leads to infected sores vulnerable to bacteria and fungi. The infection causes additional swelling, oozing, redness, and temperature. Abscesses may form as infection progresses. The dog may develop a fever.
Anxiety and Discomfort
The intense itching leads dogs to feel highly anxious and uncomfortable. They may seem unable to settle down or sleep, constantly shifting position. Loss of appetite, lethargy, and depression can also occur from the unrelenting irritation.
Look for small raised bumps that may ooze pus, often around the paws, eyelids, ears, groin, or anus. The worms look like tiny white threads emerging from the skin. They may also become embedded under the skin. Your dog constantly licking, chewing, and scratching indicates irritation. Skin infections can develop. Catch infestations early before they worsen.
Seeking Veterinary Care
At the first signs of skin irritation, lesions, itching or visible worms, contact your vet. Left untreated, the worms and resulting infection intensify misery for dogs. Prompt diagnosis and medication provides critical relief restoring your dog’s health and comfort. Don’t delay when mango worms pose a threat.
Manual Removal Techniques
Vets often carefully extract mature worms using tweezers, avoiding breaking them to minimize reactions. Use local anaesthetic if needed for your dog’s comfort. Sterilize extraction sites to prevent secondary infections. Remove worms intact to get all parts out. Follow up with antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, and parasite prevention medications as prescribed.
If worms are embedded internally, surgical excision may be required for safe, complete removal. This is done under anaesthesia in severe cases with deep tissue invasion by larvae. Post-operative care includes reducing activity, preventing licking of the sites, and administering all medication as directed to support healing.
The key to avoiding infestations is using monthly parasite prevention products prescribed by your vet to repel mango flies before they can lay eggs. Also carefully groom dogs to spot any flies or bumps early. Controlling breeding sites limits spread. Avoid sandy, wet areas frequented by mangos flies. Consult your vet promptly at the first signs for the best treatment outcomes. Don’t let this disturbing parasite trouble your dog’s skin and health.