How to protect your pet from mango worms

Recently, a “mango worm” dog infestation has been reported locally, whereas it was previously not found in this region.

The fly that lay the larva is common in the northern parts of South Africa but according to veterinarian Dr Elizna Boag, a growing number of infestations in Pretoria, Kempton Park, Boksburg and Centurion has been reported in recent summer months.

She said cutaneous myiasis is an infection that occurs when the fly lays eggs near or on the skin of a host.

When the larvae hatch, they require a final host to complete their growth.

“These larvae can penetrate the skin in less than 25 seconds. After 10 – 12 days boil-like lesions will develop, the grown larva will exit the skin and pupate in soil to further develop into an adult mango fly.”

She said the hosts include dogs and rodents most often, and sometimes humans.

Boag further warned that hot humid conditions were the ideal climate for the fly to be active – exactly the weather conditions experienced in the Pretoria region over the last few months.

She advised residents in affected areas to iron their clothes properly to prevent this infection and remove animal faeces or anything that could attract flies from the area as soon as possible.

“Ironing destroys any fly eggs that may have been laid on the garments,” she said.

“In dogs, the only real way of preventing the condition is to use fly repellents.

“Be sure to ask your veterinarian which products are safe and effective for use on dogs.

“Bedding needs to be washed in hot water, and then tumble dried or ironed.

“Should infestation take place regardless of measures taken to prevent it, or you suspect that your dog may be affected, take your pet to your veterinarian as soon as possible.”