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How do I kill maggots on my dog?

Resolved Question:

How do I kill maggots on my dog? When I found them I immediately gave her a bath. Washed a lot off of her. She has no visible wounds that I can see. I cannot afford to send her to a vet.

Please help.

Submitted: 9 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  miacarter replied 9 years ago.

Hello there!

I'm sorry to hear that you found maggots on your dog. The term for this is myiasis. I wonder if they're actually botfly larvae, which are not quite as damaging as maggots. Here's a link that has some photos of these little critters:

I'm concerned that there is an injury that we've not found. So a thorough check of her skin is going to be necessary.

Unfortunately, you need to shave your dog. This is the only way we're going to remove all of the maggots and find the source, if there is a wound present. I would recommend shaving her with buzzers and then wetting her down to rinse off the excess loose fur. We need to then go through each and every inch of her fur with a fine tooth comb or a flea comb, checking the skin underneath as you go. This will ensure that we remove all of the maggots and at the same time, you can look for injuries. Something like a small puncture wound may only have an opening in the skin's surface smaller than the width of a pencil, but maggots could be under the skin, so we need to rule that out. You should also check her bed and any other areas where she hangs out. These will need to be washed with a color-safe bleach.

You'll also want to look for any skin discoloration, swelling or other abnormalities. If you do find something like that, it's likely that this is the source of your maggots and she will need a vet visit. If that's the case, there are options if you don't have a lot of money. So just let me know if you'd like to learn more and I'd be happy to go over that.

You'll also need to clean any wounds or abscesses that you find. So if you do find one, again, just reply with a description of what you see and I can instruct you on how to help your girl.

Maggots aren't always present where there's a wound. I've seen them in dirty, matted, moist fur, and in fur that has urine and/or feces stuck in it, or in cases where there is an ear infection or other infection that's draining fluids. So if any of these situations may have been the case, this will be a possibility.

A flea and tick wash may be helpful for killing any unhatched eggs, but as for the maggots themselves, this isn't going to do too much good. Particularly if they're below the skin's surface.

Here's a site on myiasis in dogs:

I hope your dog is feeling better soon! Don't hesitate to let me know if you have any additional questions! Just reply and we can go from there.

I hope your dog is feeling better soon!

miacarter and 4 other Dog Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 9 years ago.

I was looking more at her while I was waiting for response. She is matted and ear infection is there. The larvae do not look like the botfly. It is maggots. Once I get her shaved later on today (I am waiting for her to dry off) what insecticide would you recommend I use?

Expert:  miacarter replied 9 years ago.

Hello there!

Ah-ha! The matting and ear infection are likely your culprits! I would still carefully look for any injuries, but I think that these are going to be your cause for the maggots.

In terms of an insecticide, any over the counter flea/tick/mite shampoo or spray should work fine. This is more to kill the eggs rather than the maggots - there's really no product designed for maggots, so one broad-functioning pesticide essentially works as well as the other. I actually just called one of my former co-workers whom I worked with at an animal shelter for a long time and this was her remedy:

Four parts of water to one part betadine (also known as povidone iodine). You can find betadine in the first aid aisle of the drug store, near the hydrogen peroxide and alcohol. You can then use a spray bottle to spritz this onto her fur, saturate it well, let it sit for 20 minutes, and then wash it off with a shampoo. If you use an anti-flea/tick shampoo, I think this will cover your bases nicely.

If you go through her fur with a fine-tooth comb once she's shaved, this will help to remove any remaining eggs as well. Shaving her is what's going to get rid of most of the maggots and eggs. And as long as we treat her ears and keep her ears clean and matt-free, she will no longer be attractive to the maggots, so that should resolve the problem.

For her ears, she will require a vet visit, as she'll need medication. I can instruct you on how to keep them clean in the meantime, to help make her less attractive to the maggots. With an ear infection, it's common to see lots of head shaking, pus, greenish, brownish, or yellowish discharge, scratching at the ear, redness, swelling and discomfort. For this, you'll need medication from your vet, but you can make her more comfortable by cleaning her ears three times a day until you can get to the vet. Timely action is important though, because you can end up with permanent hearing damage if ignored - these infections won't go away on their own.

So the first step would be to keep her ears cleaned very regularly - every day. Three times a day. If there's a lot of discharge that's forming a crust on her floppy ears, I would first wash her ear flaps with an antibacterial soap (put cotton balls in her ear canal to avoid getting soap and water into the ear). Then you can use cotton swabs and Q-tips to clean out the nooks and crannies of the ear with an ear cleaning solution. If you don't have a solution on-hand, just using a wet Q-tip will do. Just be sure to only clean what you can see - sticking the q-tip deep into the ear can do damage.

In terms of money, since she will need to see a vet for the ear infection, here are some things to consider:

Firstly, I would recommend discussing what you CAN afford with your vet. Sometimes, in the case of an animal with an infection or an injury, some care is better than no care at all, and certainly better than ignoring it or euthanasia. So if you had $50 to spend at the time, a good vet should work with you to make that money go as far as possible. In your case, this probably consists of prescribing medication for her ears (and I imagine you should be able to get an exam and meds for about $50). It's no guarantee and it's not the same as going the full gamut, which may include testing of the ear discharge to get a better idea on the type of infection, but it's usually better than nothing.

I would also call around to other clinics, as the cost from clinic to clinic for certain procedures can vary dramatically. You can ask what the fee is for an office visit - this will give you an idea of their pricing. I'm in the northeast of the U.S. and a reasonable fee is $35 here. In the south or midwest, I imagine it would be a bit less. Calling around can make a difference. For example, I had a dog with a cyst that had to be excised. One clinic quoted $800+ for the relatively simple and quick procedure. Another quoted $200 and they did a wonderful job. So that just goes to show how much it can vary.

Another option would be to contact an area humane society - like an ASPCA - to ask if they know of any low-cost veterinary clinics. Often, larger humane organizations run these clinics, or they can refer you to one in your area. Usually, they work with pet owners so that you pay what you can afford. The disadvantage is that there's usually little flexibility in terms of appointments, as these clinics are often open a few days of the week, so they're not idea for emergencies.

Another option to consider would be approaching a veterinary teaching hospital at a university in your area. Teaching clinics often charge significantly less for equal services and you'll have some of the best minds in the field working on your pet.

Here's a list of some additional resources that can sometimes help in a time of need:

American Animal Hospital Association

Angels 4 Animals

Care Credit

God's Creatures Ministry



The Pet Fund

United Animal Nations

This list is for local and national help resources:

I hope your dog is feeling better soon! Let me know if you run into any additional questions as you're shaving her and tending to her later in the day. And don't forget to wash her bed!

Customer: replied 9 years ago.

I just wanted to touch base with you and let you know what happened. I got to working on her and found that it was something I couldn't handle myself. I took her to the vet and we found that the problem was a combination of things, ears, matts, and so on. Right now she is at the vets’ office getting groomed and shaved by the groomer. They have also put her on antibiotics for her ears.

Expert:  miacarter replied 9 years ago.

Thank you for the update!

I'm glad to hear that she's at the vet - that's the best option when you're dealing with a situation like this one, especially with the ear infection, as they can be very painful. I hope your girl is feeling better soon! And I'm sure she'll appreciate her new short haircut in time for the warm weather, so there's a plus!

In the future, I recommend giving her a quick brushing each day and a once-over. That way, you can help prevent the formation of mats, which can be very sneaky and pop up before you know it, particularly in warm, humid weather! And this once-over can give you a chance to check her out for any abnormalities like a tick, or an injury. It can help catch problems early on and this makes treatment easier and less expensive in many cases.

I hope your girl is feeling better soon!