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mango worms in dog

Mango Worms In Dogs: Symptoms, Causes, Treatments

Mango worms are parasites that can infect your dog’s skin. While not fatal, they can cause your dog great discomfort.

Every dog owner is concerned about their dog getting parasites, especially worms that can be quite dangerous for pets. Mango worms are the most common type of worm to infect a dog’s skin and fur since dogs are the usual hosts for these parasites. So, what exactly are mango worms and how can your dog get them? 

Mango worms, also known as mango flies, are species of blowflies whose larvae are parasitic and inhabit the dog’s skin. The dogs can get mango worms by digging, walking, or lying on ground or soil that has been infected with hatched larvae. The larvae feed on the dog’s tissue until they mature.

We’re going to look at mango worms and their parasitic characteristics. You will learn about the ways your dog can get mango worms and what symptoms they show once they get infected. Also, we’ll discuss treatments by which you can get rid of these parasites and keep your dog safe and protected. 

What Are Mango Worms?

Mango worms, or mango flies, are tropical blowflies that are found mostly in Africa, South Africa, and Uganda. You can also find these flies under the names skin maggot fly, putzi fly, or tumbu fly. All these terms refer to the same tropical fly that inhabits mostly the skin of dogs. 

(Note: photos of mango worms are repulsive to many, so we have not included any here. If you wish to see photos of these parasites, a simple internet search will reveal many. But consider yourself warned!)

Mango worms’ larvae are parasitic and they attack the dog’s skin and fur. Once they inhabit the body of the dog, they start feeding on the dog’s tissue, and they stay there until they mature. Later, after they have matured, they leave the host’s skin feeling painful, leaving boils all over the dog’s body. 

As stated previously, mango worms origin from Africa, so they are commonly found in the central parts of this continent. However, there have been cases of mango worms in the USA, and they have reported dog infections with these parasites. 

The most common flies in the United States that bite dogs are deer flies, horse flies, and black flies. These are usually not dangerous to your dog; any risk from these bites is usually associated with a secondary infection that might develop.

How Do Dogs Get Mango Worms? 

Mango worms are usually found on the soil that contains urine or feces. The female mango flies lay their eggs on this type of soil, making it easy for the larvae to find a host where they can live and feed on the host’s skin until they mature. Dogs tend to walk, play, and dig on soil, and that is why they are the most common hosts for these parasites. 

When your pet digs, walks, or lies down on contaminated soil, it is easy for the larvae to find their way to the dog’s skin. This is not painful, so your dog will probably not even notice that parasites have started to inhabit their skin. Once the larvae have successfully entered the skin, they start feeding and growing for about 2-3 weeks. 

After they mature, i.e. after the period of about three weeks has passed, you will notice that your dog’s skin will start erupting in red boils. These boils are made of mango worms that will burst from the skin and continue to live outside the body. 

Even though these mango worms are not considered life-threatening or fatal, they are still dangerous, and you definitely do not want to have them inhabiting your dog’s skin. As soon as you notice symptoms and signs of these parasites, it is essential that you take your dog to the vet. Your vet will tell you how you may proceed with treatments; otherwise, your dog might face serious and unpleasant consequences. 

What Are The Symptoms Of Mango Worms In Dogs? 

Mango worms are significantly difficult to be noticed right away since the process of their entering the skin is painless. and your dog will not show any symptoms at the beginning. The larvae usually remain in the skin without any signs until it is time for them to erupt from the skin and continue their life cycle. However, you could still see some symptoms while they are maturing in your dog’s skin. 

Some of the most common symptoms of larvae inhabiting the dog’s skin are: 

  • Excessive biting and scratching. 
  • Creation of pimples (boils) on the body. 
  • Strange behavior of your dog.

However, these symptoms might be indicators of various causes. Therefore, the wisest thing to do would be to take your dog to the vet for a checkup. 

How To Remove Mango Worms In Dogs? 

There are several ways to remove mango worms in dogs and most of them have been proven to work and be effective in getting rid of these parasites. It is up to you or your vet to choose the way in which your dog will be treated. You can do each of the processes by yourself; however, it is recommended that you take your dog to the vet. 


One of the most common ways for treating the infections of mango worms is by administering injections. Ingredients such as lidocaine and epinephrine are proven to be effective in the removal of larvae from the dog’s body. 

Pimple Popping

This is also an effective method that is performed in a similar way as popping pimples on a human face. It involves squeezing and ejecting the pimple. It is a simple procedure; however, you need to make sure that once you eject the pimple, you take it out as a whole without leaving leftovers in the dog’s skin. If you leave anything inside, it might get the infection worse, so you need to be very careful. 


Suffocation is a treatment method in which you are required to remove the scab on the top of the boil. You need to use some oil so your dog will be comfortable and the rubbing will be easier. After that, you will need to use Vaseline or another type of jelly or wax and put it on the black dots formed on the boils. 

The Vaseline will contribute to the sealing of the pimple; therefore, the worms will try to escape in search of oxygen. Once they start coming out, you can use tweezers to remove them, which will be quite easy. 

How To Prevent Mango Worms in Dogs

The first thing you can do to prevent mango worms is to avoid traveling to places where these flies live. If you by chance travel to the African continent make sure that you follow some of the tips provided below, so that way you can keep your dog safe. 

Do Not Go To Places With Contaminated Soil 

Since the mango worms are found on contaminated soil, i.e. soil which has feces and urine on it, you should avoid going to places where this soil is prominent. These are the places where the mango worms lay their eggs, and it is most likely that your dog can get infected. 

Do Not Touch Objects From The Ground 

If some of your things, like your backpack, your dog’s collar, and similar objects have been lying on the ground, make sure that you wash them thoroughly before using them again. These are common places where mango worms may live on; therefore, it would not be safe to use them right away. 

Use High Heat To Dry Your Clothes, Towels, And Linens

High heat kills the mango worms. Therefore, if some parasites have infested your clothes, towels, or linens, they will be removed with the high heat you may use for drying. If you do not have high heat for drying at your disposal, then you can iron all of your clothing before wearing them again. 

Can People Get Mango Worms? 

It is not likely that your dog will transmit the mango worms to you; however, you may get infected in the same way as your dog. Since mango worms choose mammals as their hosts, such as dogs and rodents, they can also inhabit a person’s body. This is not so common. However, you need to be careful because there is a slight possibility of this happening to a human being as well. 

Therefore, avoid laying on contaminated soil and places where you can catch these parasites. Everything that is required for a dog as a preventive measure refers to human beings as well. 

Final Thoughts

As you can see, mango worms in dogs are not fatal parasites. However, they can be dangerous and can cause discomfort to your dog. Therefore, you need to be careful and take all of the preventive measures so your dog will not get infected. If your dog does get infected, get veterinary assistance right away to stop the infestation from spreading.

Superb Dog Editor

Superb Dog Editor