Myiasis, or a maggot infestation of the flesh, can affect dogs with untreated flesh wounds, urine and fecal stained fur coats or prolonged skin moisture from being outside in damp weather. Maggots are white, fat, rice-shaped insects that feed off of decaying flesh and can be life-threatening if left untreated. While most maggot infestations require medical and veterinary intervention, if caught early enough, the dog can be treated at home naturally. Even if the infestation is caught early, however, the dog will need to be put under strict and careful watch and taken to the vet should the dog not appear to be recovering.
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If caught early, dog owners can take it upon themselves to physically remove and dress maggot infested wounds and skin lesions. Shave the infected area to see how densely the population has grown. Remove maggots from the infected skin manually with gloved hands and discard them safely, such as in a sealable plastic bag. Owners may have to gently lift or squeeze infected skin in order to get the maggots out from under skin flaps. Not all maggots will be visible on the surface. After owners are sure they have removed every last maggot, a process that could take several hours, the skin wound will need to be dressed with a gentle antibacterial ointment and gauze and checked frequently.
Charcoal and Woodash
Mark Zuker, a holistic veterinarian, recommends using hydrogen peroxide and a cotton swab to clean the infected area thoroughly. After the infected area has been cleaned, dog owners can then apply some charcoal or woodash directly onto the wound. The alkalinity in either option kills the maggots. Dog owners should repeat this process twice daily until all maggots are killed.
The best natural remedy for a maggot infestation on a dog is to take extra care to prevent infestation from happening in the first place. Keep the dog coat very clean, especially when coming into contact with urine or fecal matter. Consistently check dogs for flesh wounds and treat them immediately, no matter how small the wound. Longhair dogs should be checked even more thoroughly as their hair can sometimes mask wounds. When facing a long period of damp weather, it is important to provide dogs with somewhere dry to shelter themselves. Dry wet dogs with towels thoroughly to avoid skin lesions.
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