Maggots: A Nasty Problem in Pets

| September 2, 2011 | 122 Comments

It’s that time of year again …

One of the least favorite times of year for most emergency staff is what we in the veterinary community like to refer to as “maggot season.” While most people only think of maggots growing in spoiled food or on things that are no longer alive, maggots can also be a problem in our live pets.

Maggots are fly larvae (an early stage of fly development), and a maggot infestation is called myiasis. When looking for a suitable place to lay their eggs, flies are usually attracted to things with decaying or rotten smells. In our live pets, attractive sites for flies can include infected bite wounds, areas of fur that are matted with urine or feces, skin folds, infected ears, ruptured skin masses, hot spots and surgical incisions, to name a few. After about 1-3 days, the eggs hatch. At first, the maggots will feed on dead skin or debris. But when that food source runs out, they release an enzyme in their saliva that starts digesting healthy skin. The enzyme can cause small holes in the skin, and then the maggots can actually burrow underneath the skin. They can also tunnel into the rectum or vagina of a pet. With time, the maggots can start releasing toxins that can make your pet sick very quickly, leading to fever, lethargy and shock.

So if you find maggots on your pet, get them to a vet immediately, where they will be able to clip and clean the underlying cause and remove the maggots. Some pets might need to be hospitalized and placed on IV fluids overnight, in addition to being started on antibiotics.

One of the biggest problems we’ve run into lately concerning maggots is false information on the Internet about getting rid of them at home — attempting to do so can make our job harder and further complicate your pet’s health. The problem is that the majority of information out there is geared toward killing maggots in food, not on your live pets. Some of the worst recommendations out there include the following — DO NOT ATTEMPT ANY OF THESE MEASURES:

  • Placing gasoline, oil, kerosene or lighter fluid on maggots is not a safe remedy. Besides potentially being a local irritant, if your pet ingests that kind of fluid, they can aspirate some of the material into the lungs.
  • Pouring straight bleach on the maggots is another unwise treatment recommended online — doing so can be very irritating to the eyes and act as an irritant to the lungs as well.
  • Pouring powdered lime on your pet also is not a good idea, since it can cause vomiting, diarrhea and GI tract ulceration.
  • Another very bad idea, placing boiling water on maggots, is something your pet would not appreciate, to say the least. Doing so can cause severe burns.
  • There is also information about using over the counter permethrin products to kill maggots. This would be something I would be very wary of doing on a cat. Cats are very sensitive to permethrins (an insecticide in many over-the-counter flea preventatives), and they can lead to intense muscle tremors and seizures.
  • Finally, using hairspray on the maggots is another unwise tip — doing so probably won’t kill them, and will only serve to give your pet a stiff hairdo.

The best method for keeping maggots off your pet is preventing them in the first place. During the summer months, if your pet lives outside, make sure they get their fur clipped for the season. Do daily cleaning of any soiled outside bedding. And if your pet has a skin infection, bite wounds or surgical incisions, keep them inside until they are healed. Also, be sure to have all wounds evaluated by a veterinarian!

© 2011 Greenbrier Emergency Animal Hospital. All rights reserved.


  1. martine says:

    my cat just came in with what i think was maggots[dead bird in the yard this week and it was full of maggots,didn t think anything about it and hosed the maggots in the earth,but i suspect he might have run close to the maggots] anyways shampooed him intensively, used vinegar to wipe everything and comed the maggots out and then vinegared him again and fed him case it s worms. i looked and them all seem out and he is more rested. i ll know tomorrow if it worked. keeping my fingers crossed.

    • Dr. Stewart says:

      Maggots are a problem because they should not be able to attach to healthy tissue, so I would be worried about a wound on your cat. Are you sure they are not fleas, lice or tapeworms? Please do not give your cat any more garlic, it is toxic to animals. Good luck!

      • I was reading about maggots on cats and they made a comment not to feed garlic to animals it’s toxic. I had a dog that had worms at the time and (this is gross) but he started to eat his poop the vet said to sprinkle garlic or pineapple juice on his food he has now died but from old age not garlic. Why do you say it’s toxic to pets.

        • Dr. Stewart says:

          It is all about dosing. Small amounts of garlic are safe for MOST dogs, but larger volumes are very toxic. Garlic is in the onion family and causes red blood cell break down. A little will not hurt, but there is a definite toxic dose and it is not much. That is a VERY old school way to treat the problem, and we are learning more and more about food toxicity.

          • Rae Dan says:

            My pet Shih Tzu has Parvovirus. He had it for a week now and he’s gradually recovering after I gave him IV fluids, antibiotic, metoclopramide at Ranitide ampules which the vet has prescribed me. But he still continues to have diarrhea and some vomiting. Then last night before I sleep, my dog had another episodes of diarrhea but not as bloody as the other day. But what is different now is I saw a 1 live maggot crawling with my dog’s excrement. I’m not sure how he got it. He hasn’t had ingesting anything except with water which i mixed with rehydration salts. I’m having my suspicions that maybe a fly drop its eggs in my dog’s mouth or on his anus. I still prioritize for my dog’s hydration status but after noticing that one maggot, I’m now concern that he may also have maggot infestation lurking inside him and I’m afraid it might complicate his condition right now.

            What do you think is recommended to do in this kind of situation. By the way, I live in the Philippines. Thanks in advance for your response!

          • Dr. Stewart says:

            Probably a taperworm segment not a maggot. If it is a maggot then it probably came off the fur around the anus or in the stool. It is unlikely to have a maggot infection internally. Check for tapeworms, and around the dog anus. Sounds like the parvo is starting to resolve, give it more time and good luck!

  2. Lisa says:

    I work at a wildlife rehabilitation center, and lately we are getting so many animals in with either maggot eggs or live maggots on them. Egg removal we know how to do; for the maggots, we have been advised to flush with dilute Capstar, combing with a flea comb, and/or picking off with tweezers, and also using Capstar by mouth to eliminate any that may have gone internal (into anus, etc.). However, lately we are also seeing them in animals’ eyes! So far a squirrel and a raccoon. Any recommendations to safely remove live maggots from the eye? Also raccoon had them deep into the ear canal (worst case we’ve ever seen; unfortunately she did not survive). Not our favorite time of the year, to say the least. Since the Capstar is a little costly, is there anything else we can apply topically to kill the maggots?

    • Dr. Stewart says:

      Wow, gross in a really cool way. I do not have any better solution for maggot removal from the eye. The good news is they usually are somewhat helpful in removing the dead tissue, the bad news is they are gross and can also do harm. We often use a diluted peroxide mixture to remove them topically. This seems to really make them release, and bubble to the surface of a wound or pocket. Otherwise…..flush flush flush (and the capstar works too).

      • Lisa says:

        Thanks. Unfortunately what we are seeing is on healthy baby animals, so the maggots are doing quite a bit a damage. Squirrel is on the mend, although the eye is a total loss. Will keep him on antibiotics while it reabsorbs. Wound the maggots left was about the size of a quarter, which on a five week old baby squirrel was fairly large, in the groin/flank area. Impossible to bandage, so we are treating with collagen-based wound care to help speed granulation and also applying Silvadene, which seems to be working quite well. Luckily had not penetrated past muscle layer. This is our least favorite time of the year to be sure! In the meantime, we will be stocking up again on Capstar.

        • Dr. Stewart says:

          Keep up the good work. Sounds gross in a cool way. Although we do see maggots on “healthy” animals, they are usually not penetrating (like in the fur around a wound or trying to climb to the wound.) This sounds pretty bad in such a little animal. Was it recumbent and got a sore? That is the other time we see maggots in “healthy” animals. If they are too tightly caged, or trapped and can not move well, or down in a limb. Interesting what you are seeing. Good luck, and try flushing with diluted peroxide. It is not great for wounds (we never use it for wounds) but it can flush out maggots.

  3. Penny says:

    Neighbor kid brought me a tiny manx kitten- 1st day removed a normal looking “sticky turd” from rear end- 2nd day very matted and washed off- 3rd day same problem but found large maggots just inside the rectum. Removed visable maggots and checked as far as I could into the rectum. Kitten now walks around hunched over, strains but has a near constant feces drip. Been keeping him clean and skin around anus is healing well and that nasty “rotten” smell is gone. Kitten does not act like he feels well. Could there be more creepies inside that I am missing? I wormed him with Pyrantal a couple of days ago. Can not afford a vet until next week and the 2 local shelters want to euthanize becaue he is so little and has had those problems they do not want to deal with and is too oung to adopt right now. I am guessing he is about 7 weeks old.

    • Dr. Stewart says:

      I cant give you too much more to do with this kitten. I would highly recommend a vet visit. You might be able to have the shelter look at it for free, but not euthanize .You should certainly bring it there if it looks painful. Please have a professional look at the kitten. It might have internal colon or rectal problems, and these can be very difficult to deal with. The other possibility is that you are seeing tapeworms or other internal parasites and not maggots.

  4. gspal says:

    I was searching the net for maggot infested wounds in dogs. Your site explains the necessity of keeping pets clean and dry. I also came across another article at where I had posted a query on there being any necessity of prescribing Moxipil 250 gm tabs twice a day to a less than 10 kg abandoned maggot infested dog that has already undergone 5 days of continuous treatment at vet clinic of cleaning and dressing along with injections of Moxipil and Ivermectin. We are now doing the dressing at home.

  5. karishma says:

    my dog is suffering from maggots in mouth. is it too serious? i m taking him to vet tmrw because i saw it just now. is it smthin very serious?

  6. Ahad says:

    my cat is disabled and can’t use her back legs. I had to go out of town for a few days and came back to see maggots coming out of the rectum are and had created a tunnel in the flesh. i took out as many maggots as i could with tweasers. Please guide my what can i do to take care of it as i live in a small town and there are no vets.

    • Dr. Stewart says:

      Wow, these questions get harder and harder to answer. There is no good answer here. Why are her back legs not working? Are the maggots still there? Are they eating dead flesh or are they slowly killing her? She might have way more problems going on that we do not know about. Ok, cats with back legs not working are often caused by saddle thrombus (see other post), but it could also be trauma, infection, cancer or other causes. The maggots are there because she can not clean herself or get rid of them and she is probably dragging her rear and getting infections. First, make your best effort to seek a vet. This cat might need to be humanely euthanized, if that is not an option you can try to flush the wound with soapy water and keep her rear end clean. I would not allow her outside and do my best to keep her rear end clean and dry. Find a vet would be my best solution. This is not fair to the kitty.

      • Waverly says:

        I have a baby Northern Mocking bird and his parents, both mom and dad, are here. Yesterday I found out that the baby bird has maggots in all areas of its face, such as: He has maggots all over his forehead, nostril, beak corners, and in a space behind his eyes. I got tweezers and took the see-able maggots out and killed the maggots I got out, but today the maggots were replaced again. The baby bird is 3-5 weeks old, and is a fledgling. I want this baby bird to survive since he is the only surviving baby his parents have left. Please tell some info of how to take care of him.

        • Dr. Stewart says:

          Is he eating or drinking? I will admit that I am not a bird expert. I would call a local wildlife shelter, or bird vet for advice. Most birds that have active maggots like you are describing are either cuterebra or bot fly larva. Make sure this is not the case. If so, then internal medication can help and pulling them out will be very helpful. If they are proper maggots then you need to find out why the bird has them… ie is the bird dying or very sick. Call the local wildlife center and they can help identify the maggots or maybe a local vet will give you some free advice for wildlife, they usually will.

  7. Jose Travieso says:

    my dog has maggots in his mouth what can i do or should do?

    • Dr. Stewart says:

      It is going to sound like a broken record, but get that dog to a vet. There is nothing I can help you with without loads more info and seeing the dog. Maggots in the mouth is a disaster usually and needs to be seen asap by a professional. Drive, walk, fly to the nearest vet.

  8. Rhiannon Kate Murray says:

    I’m hand rearing some baby birds (mourning doves I think) tiny clear maggots keep appearing in the nesting material. I’m using cut up old curtains and changing them several times a day to keep the babies clean. I’ve checked both birds over carefully and I can’t find any sign of a wound. Is it possible the birds have an internal infestation? They seem healthy otherwise and are eating well and have just started streaching and flapping around.

  9. Melica says:

    My dog had ady4 puppies and two of them had. holes and the wound has maggots, I already lost one and dont want to lose the other. I live in jamaica which a vet is very expensive and limited,please. Help

    • Dr. Stewart says:

      Why are there holes and wounds? You should flush the wounds with peroxide and clean the wounds with soap and water. If they are very serious there is not too much you can do. If they are superficial you can keep them clean and away from flies and dirt and hope they heal on their own. Can you keep the puppies inside? They should be kept clean and nursing. Other than getting antibiotics and a vet visit, this is your best bet. Good luck!

      On second thought, are the holes small with one worm in them like a cuterebra or bot fly larva? (Google this) If this is the case then you need the vet to look and remove these worms. If they are maggots then cleaning them should help. Good luck!

  10. roxy says:

    my cat came home today, and his paw has swollen and has an open wound on his arm. a few days back that wound caught maggots , which pulled out with a tweezer and cleaned with an antiseptic, applied antibacterial cream and wrapped a bandage around it. it started to recover and so the holes inside the wound where maggots thrived from were gone, leaving it nice and pink. however today i saw that it has swollen. plz tell me what i can do at home to prevent and protect my cat from maggots!? all creams and oral medicines. i can’t take him to the vet as the shop is closed right now, plus it’s way to expensive! already i’ve taken him several times in the past, making my parents furious !

    • Dr. Stewart says:

      Sounds like there is something else going on. You seem to have treated it well, but if it is still swollen and getting worse you need to see a vet. Sometimes all the cream and time you put into these cases are more costly than just seeing a local vet. Maggots in a cat abscess are not normal and are indicators of potentially something very bad. This cat needs oral antibiotics and a good vet exam. Sorry I can not be more help. See if the local vet will trade you services for cleaning the office or something?

  11. roxy says:

    thankyou for your advice :) but the country i live in, kids do’nt do local, or odd jobs such as cleaning,news paper delivery,mowing the lawn etc, i wish i could but it actually servant work, which if i do will harm our family reputation !:( hence, just tell me if i can give him augmenton(anti biotic) , as i gave him last time on my vets prescription and he recovered ! fortunately ur a doctor too, so plz just tell me the medicine and its dosage ! pleaaasee ! i’d be grateful !

    • Dr. Stewart says:

      I can not give you a diagnosis or dosage for a prescription drug. Augmentin is not the drug we use in cats here, it is a veterinary version called Clavamox that we recommend (a different mixture of drugs in the pill.) I would call your vet and ask him what you gave last time, this should not cost any money. Good luck. There is a strict limit as to what I can recommend without seeing you pet.

  12. chelsea says:

    Hi there.

    My cat was outside today and i noticed a lot of flies around her tail area. I shooed them and noticed tiny little yellow what i think are eggs. I washed her with soapy water and combed out any more that were hanging on.

    There arr a few more still around her vagina but i read that they hatch in 1-3 days. Would the bath have killed them? If i bath her agaon tomorrow and keep her inside will that do the trick? I had a good look at the eggs and there is no movement in them. They look like specs of hay almost.

    • Dr. Stewart says:

      This sounds like lice, or maybe maggot eggs. A good bath and maybe a gentle flea bath should do the trick. Try to get as many off as possible. If she is healthy and wound free the maggots should not be a problem….the lice might be a pain. Good luck.

  13. Cherie says:

    I have a 10yr old OES who is clipped. He had a dirty bottom yesterday & I washed it. His behavior has been a bit different overnight & today when I got home from work I realized he had another dirty bottom. when I looked closely I saw he had some maggots in the anus area and under his tail docking area. I have thoroughly cleaned this now and surrounding areas. The skin is red and I have applied Dettol (which a vet has previously told me kills maggots & their eggs). I am confident I have treated this well. I have some Cephalexin and want to give it to him to treat any potential bacterial infection from the maggots. Would this help him?

    • Dr. Stewart says:

      Why is he getting maggots? Can you isolate a wound or sore? Try to keep the area dry and clean with soap and water multiple times a day. I can not advise to give the cefalexin without seeing the dog, but some form of antibiotic would be advised. Keeping the area clean and dry is a priority, dettol will work but is very harsh on the skin and this should we watched for a rash, and the underlying cause should be addressed. I would try your regiment for a little and if you see no improvement or it is getting worse then go to a vet immediately.

      • Cherie says:

        Oes are prone to getting faeces caught in their coat. He has always had an issue and he is docked right back with a thick coat so that doesn’t help. I have my first one with a tail and it seems they stay far cleaner with the tail. Thanks for the advice

        • Dr. Stewart says:

          Got it, so it should be easy to keep that area clipped short and clean. We routinely clean and shave that area for dogs (and cats) and especially OES, Bearded Collies, Poodles, GR, BMD and other long hair breeds. This should be easy to fix and the wounds should heal. Be careful when you shave it not to damage the skin more! Good luck.

  14. Marina says:

    I just Found my puppy(a month old) with her left ear full if maggots. I don’t have money to take the pier girl to the vet I don’t know what To do?!!

    • Dr. Stewart says:

      You need to get her to an SPCA or a vet. This will just be the start of her medical bills and if you can not afford her care, you should probably find a home or a place that will care for her. Owning a dog is a big financial responsibility and not something to ignore. Sorry, but this sounds serious and there will be more problems in the future.

  15. sherri says:

    My puppy was attacked by Pitt Bull Dogs two days ago..we took him to emergency vet.. they flushed and stitched many wound… he is on two antibiotics and pain meds… we found maggots in his open puncture wounds.. taking back to get tomorrow.. what can they do?

    • Dr. Stewart says:

      Good questions. The vet can further flush the wounds and give you specific flush to use at home. It seems strange to have maggots in a treated wound, but it is possible if the wound was left before going to the vet. It might just take time to heal. Keep the puppy inside away from flies as well. If the dog starts to heal, there should not be any more maggots. Good luck.

  16. Amahar says:

    My cat is suffering from maggots in his mouth. I took him to the vet twice and they do nothing but just fill the infected area with a cream. They are not removing the maggots not even on my request. And they are not even recommending any medicine.please help.

    • Dr. Stewart says:

      I would certainly try another vet. They should be be able to flush the maggots out and give the cat antibiotics. Maggots in the mouth is a very serious problem and needs to be addressed. Sorry.

  17. Sam says:

    My vet said that my dog’s poop smelled like it had larva in it……what does that mean? I have not seen any…..and how would a dog that does not go outside and get in other’s business get larva in her poop?

    • Dr. Stewart says:

      Not sure what that means… did the vet say anything about tasting larva in the poop? Just kidding. I have never heard of this. Dogs can get worms from their mothers or even just from licking the bottom of shoes if they themselves do not go outside. Not sure about the smell. That is a new one.

  18. Deb says:

    I wish I had found this site sooner. I thought my 10 year old Pyrenees had worms so I gave him dewormer but they were still there so I gave him an expensive one that covers tapeworm too. He had a messy bottom so I bathed him as best I could about a month ago, and rinsed him off several times since. He seemed to feel fine until a few days ago. He is an outside dog but has a large area to roam. When I looked closer the worms had multiplied greatly and were now in his coat above his tail too. His coat is very thick. I took him to vet right away. They weren’t worms but maggots. The vet said since the maggots had been in rectum so long there would be too much internal damage. I had to put him down. What I thought were worms were maggots and in my ignorance allowed my beautiful boy to be infested beyond treatment. I’m posting this so no one else will make the same mistake.

  19. thank you for giving reassuring advice… i came here to look for more info on maggots in a cats vagina…my medium length orange tabby… yesterday she was little unclean in the bum area… cleaned her up and off she went. just her pride crushed. this morning again unclean totally unlike her but i thought she had worms…. cleaned up this afternoon…grosses thing have ever seen … phoned the vet had surgery and medicine and a bare bum area…. i hope never to see that again

  20. Adrea says:

    Hi Dr. Stewart,
    I have an Indian runner duck that got a pretty nasty raccoon bite on its back about a month ago. I flushed the wound and applied. ointment/wrapped it daily. I let her got back outside after about a week when a solid scab had formed and there was no indication of infection. Since then I briefly examine the wound every few days to ensure it is still healing well. the scab had gotten down to the size of a dime l. howeve, i noticed she was limping. Maggots have gotte,n intoher eg. while flushing them out I began to see spots all over her body where maggots have star ted eating healthy tissue. I spent 2 hours flushing them out but I’m sure I missed some. ould Ivermectin help and be safe for a duck.Is there anything else you suggest I do?

    • Adrea says:

      P.S. Sorry for the all the typo-s. I was trying to write this from my phone.

    • Dr. Stewart says:

      Great question. I think Ivermectin has limited action against maggots that are in healthy tissue, but I am honestly not a duck person. We give capstar sometimes if we want to kill the small maggots in mammals. There must be another problem going on if maggots have invaded the healthy tissues of the duck. This is a serious problem. Is there an exotic or poultry vet in the area? I have treated birds with ivermectin for Bot Fly larva and it seemed to help, so it might be worth a shot. Can you keep cleaning with peroxide or another flushing agent to get the maggots out? I would be concerned. Good luck. see if you can get to a poultry vet.

  21. Terri says:

    We have a cat who is not really disabled, but his back legs had to be pinned back together after an unkown accident that crushed both back knees. he gets around well, even partially climbs trees. But he is quite thin on the back end now, losing muscle tone and tonight we called him (he is an indoor outdoor cat, arrived here as a stray several years ago) and found fly eggs (no maggots that I found) on his back and back legs… he went immediately to the bath for a thorough scrub down nad then a brush and combing… as we were combing I can see clumps of the sticky eggs, most of which we got out, but singles still remain. We plan to go thru the process again tomorrow – what else can I do to help this guy? He was treated for digestive worms this spring… should I re-treat? Vinegar rinse? I just don’t know what to do…

    • Dr. Stewart says:

      I think you are on the right path. Depending on where you live and seasonality of the flies you might only have to be vigilant in the summer. Hopefully the larva (maggots) will not attach into healthy skin. There are some that do and there are even bot and cuterebra flies that are really problematic with healthy skin. You might try Frontline or another anti-insectacide topical to help with the flies or maybe a diluted citronella spray. They are making great advances in flea and tick collars and drops and I would assume these will work well. Good questions, good luck.

  22. Maria says:

    My tenant left her kitchen garbage can outside her door (instead of taking it to the curb) during temperatures over 100°C. There were maggots crawling on the floor right inside her door and on the ground just outside her door. I noticed that her cat has a skin irritation of some kind. Could the maggots get on the cat and cause disease? Thank you!

    • Maria says:

      Sorry that should have read over 100°F, not C!

    • Dr. Stewart says:

      Good questions. I guess if there was an open wound it is possible but very unlikely. The maggots that eat flesh are not the same as the ones that eat fruit and garbage (usually) and contact like that is very rare. I would think a quick clean up and a cat bath would do the trick. I have never heard of this type of infection. Good questions.

      • t.powell says:

        pls help.i have alot of maggotts appeared from rubbish bags being in can i descretely and quickly get rid of them thats also safe for my dog??also can these maggotts infect or have or do anything to her if she does come accross any in the garden whilst out doing her business and noseing worried to let her go out there.pls pls help asap!!

        • Dr. Stewart says:

          It is very unlikely that maggots from the trash will infect the dog. It might indicate bad food and bad meat nearby which will make her sick if she gets into that, but the maggots should not harm her. Just clean the area up and you should be ok.

  23. ajoplin says:

    I found 4 puppies that I’m guessing are about a week old. I’ve been bottle feeding them for almost a week now and I just noticed maggots when they use the bathroom and around their back legs. I’ve used tweezers to remove all that I saw and I haven’t noticed anymore .. I’m really worried and not sure what to do. Is there anything I can do to help them?

    • Dr. Stewart says:

      Bring them to the vet. These are less likely maggots and more likely intestinal worms coming out of them. Bring them to the vet or the SPCA or another shelter to be properly looked after. There is nothing I can tell you to do because they need more than just simple care.

  24. Carrie says:

    Hi Dr. S,
    My Beautiful Wolfeee wonder dawg was attacked by the g*d flies this spring… horrible. she was ‘circling’ for days… and her hind end was giving out… but, i didn’t make the connection till the 2nd or 3rd day… (((she was weak and in shock and i found them when i rolled her over when grooming her… terrible shock… for me… in all her years i had/have never encountered ‘maggots’.))). she has been ‘healing’ since may!!!!!!! mid~may. the vet shaved her and she did the round of anti~biotics fine. and i have had to re~fill the TOPICAL anti~bacterial once now. but, MY QUESTION is: should it be taking this long to heal??????????????????? the wound was on her Left Hip… and the ‘vet’ didn’t give her more than a few days to LIVE… (((that’s how close to death’s door she was))). i turn her every few hours and change her pee pads and fleece blanket top coat ((trying to prevent any ‘bed soars’ and other ‘weaknesses in her hide’… it isn’t red or swollen — but, still not ‘closed’. it was terribly deep and almost the size of a 50 cent piece. and it slowly repaired. and the hide did close eventually… but the new hide is now still weak and not closed … will that new hide fall off (since it’s opened again…???)??? my girl will be 16 in september. i hope she makes it to her birthday and beyond. (((she became incontinent of few summers ago… but, other than that she has been tremendously active and healthy her whole life.))). it took me a long time to figure out how to keep her ‘dry’… but, i finally did… thru the horror of the flies… puppy pee pads (bed pads for ‘elderly’) off of EBAY and the fleece blankets on top… to create more of a barrier and cushion have been beyond beneficial.!. (none of the vet prescribed ‘incontinence’ or wholistic treatments have helped with that one issue ::(((. i just want to keep her comfortable and safe thru our last days/months/beyond while she’s here… and i hope that that wound will CLOSE eventually! thank you for her insights and information. you are very helpful.
    me and mama doggie

    • Dr. Stewart says:

      I’m confused as to what caused the wound. If it is a sore from not being able to get up or a wound under a hair mat that had maggots in a 16 year old large breed dog, then I would think the wound might not ever heal. If it was a wound from injury or trauma then there is a chance of it healing. It sounds like she is incontinent and maybe unable rise, these dogs often will not heal well at all. You will have to manage the wound as open for a while and hope a thin fragile piece of scar tissue will cover the wound. Make sure she is comfortable and remember it is not the length of life that is important but the quality of life. I would hate to keep a dog alive that can not rise or move just for the sake of doing that. Good luck.

      • leah says:

        I have a female Australian shepherd and as everyone has noted it has been a terrible year for flies. My horses, cows, goats and apparently my dogs are suffering as well. My aussie is heavy coated and typically we have no problems, however Iv noticed her liking like she needed to go potty and nothing happening. This setfoff alarms and I put on my glove tonight to do a light internal inspection and find maggots in her rectum. This is only intensified by the fact that she just had puppies two days ago. I didn’t think they got in to the rectum that quickly and this is the first day Iv seen any change in behavior. She’s is a working dog and hates to be up so we allowed her to have the pups outside. I know I need to take her to the vet, but is there anything I can do in the meantime to make her comfortable? I am a vet tech by profession with over eight years experience, but am currently unemployed due to having my first child. So I am slightly embarrassed this happened….please help. Basically, other than an antibiotic, can u flush them out internally via external methods? Enema, saline flush, light peroxide flush, iodine, etc…Just curious as to the effects vs the potential side effects. I’m already going to clean the area and clip her. Thank u for your time and I appreciate any suggestions.

        • Dr. Stewart says:

          I cant imagine why they would be in her rectum??? Is there dead tissue there? Are you sure it is not pin worms, or tapeworms? Tapeworms are more likely and look like maggots. If it is true maggots then you need to figure out why they are there. A sedated exam and see if there is a rectal tear? You can try an enema to flush them out, but I cant imagine that will work and the dog will be very unhappy. Anything other than saline or water with a drop of soap is a bad idea. Make sure they are really maggots and not tapeworms then visit a vet asap. If they are tapeworms, that is an easy pill but you have to make sure the medicine is ok for nursing mothers. The vet can give you stronger medication that will help if they are maggots.

  25. Carrie says:

    thanks so much. i wondered if the ‘wound’ would ever heal. my girl can still get up !!! and has an appetite too… but, yes the ‘incontinence’ i was told ‘weakens’ the hide. and when she was healing from the maggot attack (it was DEEP) … i would lay her on the ‘good side’… that ended up causing sores that have since healed. but, now i rotate her when she sleeps to keep her comfortable. she is on 75 mg of Deramaxx and 100 mg of Gabapentin/ per day. but, with the original wound still not healed… i just don’t know anymore. whhwwww thanks very much. she is my first dog… and it is pretty heart breaking and hard to let go… her eyes are still bright and she is still present.!. (((::))) but, the last couple days… she is definitely breathing harder and not sleeping as well as usu. xoUs

  26. Carole says:

    This morning my neighbor motioned me to come over,(she was actually several houses down as she was on her wayto church. Anyway, I saw the plastic bin she was holding and my heart sank knowing that what was in there were either kittens or puppies.
    They were kittens. One was dead and the other two have maggots. They are young with eyes barely open. One of them have maggots in the rectum as well as somerather large sores on both sides near the tail. The other one is not quite as bad but does have maggots in rectom I bathed them in a mild soap and water and hand picked maggots best I could, I have a feeling the one will need euthanasia, but would to save the other one.

  27. Michele says:

    I just noticed that my dog has maggots in a hole in her ear. She has been itching for a few days. She has thick hair so I only just now found the hole. Can I wait till the morning to get her to a vet or should I get her to an emergency center?

    • Dr. Stewart says:

      Good question. It might have been there a few days and so another day might not be a problem. The sooner the better. You can probably wait, but the dog is most likely uncomfortable and the sooner it is fixed the better. It depends on your money and time and how much the dog is suffering. Good luck.

  28. Ludwig says:

    Last night we noticed a small wound on my dog’s nose, was worried and brought her to the vet this morning and found out that there’s maggots. We’re instructed to flush it out using peroxide and combinex. We already took out 10 rice sized maggots. She was also given amoxicillin syrup for the infection. Would like to know your opinion if this is enough or what else should we do, like medicines or ointments needed.. thank you!

    • Dr. Stewart says:

      That should be enough, but if it doesn’t work you might have to sedate her and open the wound up to get a better flush. I know people use systemic flea medications to kill maggots but you probably do not need these at this point. If you vet thinks that will work, I agree. Good luck and YUCK!

  29. Carrie says:

    hi doc.
    still nursing my (almost 16yr old) girl’s wound. and i keep fly spray on her when she’s outside (to keep the gnats and flies away). i had her sleeping on her bed in the garage…(afternoon nap otherwise i keep her inside to sleep with me…) but, it was a gorgeous day and she was up and at ‘em. so when she wanted to rest i thought — so gorgeous outside and she’s got all the spray on her. ok. well i look in on her after an hour or TWO and those g*d FLIES are on her PAWS ((( the only place i didn’t ‘spray’ (((i focus on her toosh and hips and back legs and tail))).
    why would they be on her front legs ???/PAWS!!!! so i trimmed all the fir between her toes… and brushed her and brushed her (b/c i don’t know where else they may have gone???). but, i found the start of the maggots ((( the white fuzzie little ‘nests’s))) on one paw for sure. i immediately brought her inside to her bed … and continued to clean and brush her… and cleaned btw. her toes … ?… why!? i am going to
    put her in the bathtub tomorr. and hope i got them before they get her… i just can’t believe it.

  30. Heidi says:

    I have a 2 week old calf, that has had the scours.. Bum is wet of course, but very weak and stopped eating.. Ears were cold, so I decided to check her temp.. When I lifted her tail found and open wound at her base of her tail, and maggots surrounding her anus.. Freaked out and took her temp, 101.7…. Saw a maggot crawl out of her butt.. Doused her with 7% iodine all around her tail n anus.. We are an organic farm, flies being one of our biggest nuissences. How do I tell if they have invaded her intestines, and can I treat her with anything organically? I heard flush with mineral oil to drown the maggots, I just have never encountered this before..

  31. R shupe says:

    Hi iv got a iv got a pet squirrel. I rescued him a little over two years ago when he fell out of his nest when he was just a infant. He was so small he didnt have much fur and his eyes and ears werent even open yet. He looked like a little bald headed baby rat. His tail looked more like a rats tail then a cute bushy squirrell tail. Anyways I bottle fed him almost every hour dureing the day and every two hours at night. I got some kind of milk replacement powder you mix with water at the pet store. I kept his box sitting on a heating pad to keep him warm. That was over twoyears ago iv loved and taken care of him ever since iI found him. He is tame as a kitten he jumps on my leg and climbs right up to my shoulder. Now today I noticed a small hole in his skin back near his bottom I think he has a magot or worm burrowed down in there with him being a squirrell that im not legally suppose to have I cant rush him to my vet. What can Ido for him? My dog is recovering from an ear infection and iI have some antibiotics left over is it safe to give a small amount to my squirrell? The antibiotic my dog is on is called keflex.
    If anyone has any advice please let me know. My email is

    • Dr. Stewart says:

      I would contact a local wildlife rescue, and you can call a local vet to ask advice and if they would see you. I really do not know much about squirrels. Try a local zoo if there is nothing else.

  32. Donna says:

    My son left hot dogs in his tackle box and we ended up with maggots–a lot of them. We hosed down the box, squished a bunch, sprayed a bunch with Roundup and threw boiling water on them as well. I’m worried about the ones that got away. I have an 8 week old puppy and unfortunately, my son dumped the maggots right by our back door where the pup goes in and out to relieve himself. Any advice?

  33. Alex says:

    My dog Is 8 and I found out her food was infested with maggots the bowl has been there for at a week and my dog has been acting different than she usually is so I just want to know if she’s going to be ok

    • Dr. Stewart says:

      Can not say. If there were maggots in her food then the food was bad and she will likely have GI upset and diarrhea. This will not lead to maggots in her stomach, but the bad food can lead to all sorts of stuff. Change her food (duh) and see how she does. Bring her to your vet if you see diarrhea or vomiting. Make sure she eats well and drinks well and has no other clinical signs from bad food.

  34. Brandi says:

    I have a female dog that had a blanket in her kennel it was clean when I put it in her kennel. She was let out in the morning and I was gone for 6 hrs and she had an accident on her blanket. She is pregnant and due Oct 15th. When I took the blanket out there were maggots under it everywhere. My question is can it hurt the puppies? There were only 30 maggots there and weren’t any where else. I gave her a bath and checked her all over and didn’t find any on her.

    • Dr. Stewart says:

      Are you sure they were not ant larva or something living under the blanket? I would have that kennel very clean before the puppies arrive, but I’m not sure there is anything else you can do now if the mother dog has no wounds. Just keep watching.

  35. babygurl says:

    I gave my 10 month old pit bull chicken wings she seemed fine but the last 2 days she is very different drooling from mouth barely. Eating and vomiting up thick white mucus. I cant afford to take her to the vet i tried white rice but she wont eat it. And now flies are attacking. Her tail and anus. Please help i dont want to loose her…

    • Dr. Stewart says:

      She might have a wing stuck in her throat or mouth? Is she vomiting? If she has never been to a vet or vaccinated she might have parvo or worms…. there are too many options here. I would breing her to the SPCA and get her checked out or risk losing her. Flies attacking her rear does not sound good.

  36. Jan says:

    We found tons of maggots in Our 14 year old shepherd mix tonight. We were able to remove many. We plan to bring him to the vet in the morning. Since some of them are falling off of him, do I need to be concerned about our other 2 dogs getting infected? Can the maggots infect us?

    • Dr. Stewart says:

      They will only infect you if you have open wounds, immune system problems or get them in a very sensitive place. Clean them up and keep the dog clean and away from the other dogs. Good luck at the vet.

  37. Charlotte says:

    I have an 11 month old teacup Maltese…I have found what look like maggots in her stool…I took a sample to the vet yesterday and they just called to say she doesn’t have worms…that a fly must have laid the eggs on her stool…that is simply impossible, because I retrieved her stool immediately after she dropped it…the worms are about a half inch long…my sister first spotted them when we were out of town over the weekend…because of the extent of the rainy weather we have had over the summer, there was an abundance of flies this season…she is of course an inside dog…but she chases the flies when she sees them…could she have ingested fly larva from flies in this manner??? I explained to the vet over the phone that the worms were already in her stool when I retrieved it for him, so he has asked me to bring her in this afternoon…but my question is the same, could she have ingested live fly larva from chasing flies in the house???

    • Dr. Stewart says:

      Very very very unlikely. Probably Tape worms and the sample they ran did not have any in it. Or the vet never saw the stool and a tech ran it and did not look closely enough. Bring another sample with the worms or just bring her in to be checked up. You can not ingest a fly and get maggots.

  38. annie words says:

    i found a black hole on a feamale aged stray dog’s tail… the hole ws on the tail n as its a big stray dog, i couldnt take hr to the vet. instead i went to a vet medicine shop n they gave a topicure spray n neomac tablt. the hole ws there fr may b 3 4 days bfore i put th medicns on… nw its been 4 days n th hole hs become smaller bt th skin on n bside it hs startd rottening with bad smell n the skin hs bcom white. bt i stil applied th given spray as i saw flies were flying there. the nxt day i saw the white skin decreased bt the red soft skin under her tail came up.. al i wanna knw is it a good sign or bad? her apptite is fully fine.

    • Dr. Stewart says:

      Very hard to understand this. I think a bad smell and flies is always bad. I would be concerned with severe infection and would try to call an SPCA or some kind of shelter to help you. If nothing around, then I guess you have very few options. Keeping the area clean and flushing it would be my next best then apply what you have. The tablet and spay can only do so much without more care…. sorry

  39. tejashwini says:

    sir, my dog is of 6months old. it has wounds in its two legs. due to some infection worms have spreaded in the wounds. we taken to veternary but its becoming large no use of those sprays. plzz can i get any remedial measures to clear its wounds.. its a black lab category dog

    • Dr. Stewart says:

      You need to try a different vet, a vet should be able to get you antibiotics and flush the wounds. Why are there wounds? Why can you not flush out the worms? You need to keep the wounds clean and dry and flush them out. GO to a new vet ASAP.

  40. Jay says:

    All of these issues are strangely similar…
    It is fairly simple. Please do not get pets if you can not afford a Vet.
    Your dog or cat NEEDS TO BE KEPT CLEAN and preferably kept INSIDE. You will be putting that poor animal at risk for pain, suffering and possible death. Animals are innocent; like children. They do not asked you be here. They are 100% dependent on YOU. TAKE CARE OF THEM. I do understand that there are cases where things “happen”, or finances are tough and you can come up with a couple hundred bucks for a vet. There are precautionary measures to take so that you do not have to worry about things like MAGGOTS, yuck. Poor animals. They deserve to be treated like your family. Would you let your child sleep outside? Would you let your child eat rotten food? I would hope not.

  41. Danyell says:

    Hello, just last night I rescued a baby field mouse from my cat. So far I have fed him three times, following an every few hour regiment. I’ve also helped it to go potty after roughly twenty minutes after the feeding, today I bathed it gently with a q tip, I got off an almost ear wax colored stuff off its side, can’t tell if it has a puncture there or not. I have a fear it may be crippled in one leg, or at least injured and have a fear it might contract maggots. Sadly my vet will not look at it since it is a wild animal. Advice, help?

    • Dr. Stewart says:

      Call a wildlife center, or an SPCA if you think it can be saved. If they will not see it and you are concerned about re-release then ask your vet for humane euthanasia. If your vet refuses…. honestly…..switch vets. In all my years of general and emergency practice I would HIGHLY discourage wildlife care and advise against people brining wild animals in to the clinic due to disease, liability (rabies) and my basic lack of knowledge… however, I would never turn a sick field mouse down for humane and correct euthanasia. Very rarely are these animals releasable and usually it is not fair to keep them as pets. Please make a good decision. By the way, this is not the cat’s fault, it is what outdoor cats do. Keep cats indoors unless you are trying to eradicate native wildlife in barns and other areas (like rats and mice.)

  42. Jaaydev says:

    Hi…I have a German Shepherd and the ears is infected(maggots) releases a bad smell , this is the second time my dogs ears is like this…the first time I brought my dog to the vet I applied the medicine it became ok….now again there is smell, so far now I have been cleaning the ears with cotton and applying Surolan(this medicine I got from my vet the last time my dog had the same problem)…should I continue cleaning????

    • Dr. Stewart says:

      I would bring him back to the vet and get oral antibiotics and a stronger topical antibiotic and a better cleaner. There is no reason to have infected ears that get maggots. You can also have a surgery performed that will really help with this problem. The surgery is if the other treatments have failed. Have the ears cultured for yeast and bacteria…. bring him to your vet and if you vet is not willing to get more aggressive bring him to a vet that will. This is unacceptable.

  43. Jessie says:

    Dr Stewart, this afternoon I went to my 3 month old puppy daschunds’s food bowl and found maggots. These were not there when I replenished he wet food this morning, and my puppy has eaten most of what I served this morning. I am terribly concerned he may have eaten some of these larvae and might be at risk. Could you please let me know if I need to take him to the vet right away? I clean his bowls every day however it has been incredibly hot here in Oz over the summer and we has the screens open yesterday to let Geoffrey in and out do the house so a fly may have had the opportunity to nest. With thx, Jessie

    • Dr. Stewart says:

      I’m not 100% sure about Australia, but I suspect it is the same as here. Eating maggots very rarely if ever is a problem. They are usually digested easily. It is only when they are in open wounds that there is a problem. I would watch for diarrhea or any blood in his stool, but suspect there will be no problem. Just make sure to not leave moist food out too long. I think he will be fine.

  44. Jasmine says:

    My dog recently gave birth 5 days ago. I usually check on them, but skipped a whole day. I recently just checked them yesterday and noticed something very disturbing. I noticed something moving near the boy pups bottom, and so i flipped him over to see what it was. It was the worst thing ive ever seen happen. There were maggots crawling in and out of his bottom. Theyre bottom is turning red, and i know that the maggots are most likely killing them from the inside out. My suspicion is the mother of the pups did not clean the pups bottom after it “used the bathroom” and so maggots formed. I decided to check the remainder pups. the two female pups look fine. but the other boy pup has the same problem. They’re both growing maggots in there bottoms and insides. what do i do?? I dont want the pups in pain or to die from something like this.

    • Dr. Stewart says:

      TAKE THEM TO A VET RIGHT AWAY! They are suffering and they will die if left untreated. There is not much you can do after flushing and cleaning the wounds out. Take them to a vet to start antibiotics and have them examined. Flush the area with warm water and then go to the vet asap.

  45. vicki says:


    i have a stray kitten come in , no tail, maggot infestation, too many to pull out
    EASY SULUTION! 50% SALT 50% warm water! if large area & millions, soak cat In solution for few minutes REGULARLY, (ware gloves as the cat may bite like it did me lol)
    do this a few times as many times as needed to kill maggots, they will drop off the animal, NO HARM, NO POISON,. just time to hold the animal in the mix, no rubbing, no, tweezers, no more stress for you & the animal, keep animal away from flies so they cant lay more eggs.

  46. Angela says:

    Please can u help, over the last couple of weeks we have periodically found single live maggots moving around the fur near our cats bum. not sure if they are coming from from her bum or her vagina. She appears fine in herself and we can’t find any obvious wounds and she is keeping herself clean as usual. Any ideas??

    • Dr. Stewart says:

      Tapeworms? Or just fur maggots that are trying to penetrate. Try shaving the area for a closer inspection. Keep one and bring it to your vet or a shelter to identify as maggot vs tapeworm.

  47. sharline says:

    Hi Doc please assist my dog had a cut on her leg before i knew it it had started smelling went the 1st day to the vet and it was closed the next day after work i had noticed her entire nail and skin on her paw had fell off the skin is turning black and her bone can be seen i took her to a vet yesterday the vet he clipped of the dead skin put some yellow cream on it and bandaged it when we had asked what was the cause he did not know he had charged us R950.00 for the 1st treatment and requires us to take her back to him every 2 to 3 days which is costing R300.00 to R400.00 every visit for the next 5 to 6 visits please help in advising what can be done my dog has lost almost her entire foot , and this vet is very pricey he says his trying and can not guarantee her foot might be amputated im heart broken seeing her like this i have 2 other dog and all seem to be depressed watching her please assist

    • Dr. Stewart says:

      Sounds bad. Sounds like either a crushing injury or a circulation injury. Is there any chance the dog got caught in a wire fence or a trap or a piece of string was wrapped around the leg??? Black skin is dead skin and the fact that the bone is visible is VERY bad. I think the vet is correct that amputation will possibly become an option. I would continue the bandage changes, these are the best you can do without major surgical help or vacuum healing. Oral antibiotics and pain medication seem like they should be started. I’m not sure how much R950 is in dollars but it seems worth the treatment if you want to save the leg or the dog. You need to keep that area moist and healing as best you can and hope the damage is limited. Look for signs of some type of crush or stricture on the leg….those are your most likely culprits. Lots of luck and time might fix her leg, but I would be worried.

  48. Ann says:

    I have two Labrador retrievers. One has been having problems with blocked anal glands. She has been to the vet to have them expressed a few times. She occasionally scoots her butt both indoors and outside. The second dog I observed one time scooting her butt indoors. Both doors have access to my fenced yard and are taken on daily walks. They are currently eating fallen cherries from my cherry tree and seeds from the gumbo limbo trees. The problem: both girls are having mushy stool, some mucous coating AND their stool contains large numbers of dead appearing maggots. I thought it was a worm problem and had my vets office perform a fecal float. No worms, just maggots! I am still waiting to hear from my vet herself. I am quite alarmed by this – how do I treat and how do I prevent a further infestation?

    • Dr. Stewart says:

      Interesting. I would re-test the stool for tapeworms as these look like maggots and are often not seen on fecal floats. Ask your vet about this. Maggots in the intestinal tract would be a SEVERE if not quickly fatal problem. I doubt this is the problem. Maybe there is a slight chance of an anal gland infection with maggots but again very unlikely in a healthy acting dog. I would MUCH higher suspect worms of some kind then maggots. Please talk to your vet or have a full fresh sample of stool sent out to he lab with worm/maggot samples in it. Please let me know what happens.

  49. Joe says:

    Hi, I’m Joe. I have a 3 year old female German Shepherd. The dog had maggot infestation at its anus right after the heat cycle and it has happened 3 times. Can spaying prevent the future occurrence of maggot infestation after the heat cycle?

    • Dr. Stewart says:

      Sorry for the late reply, I was on vacation away from a computer. Yes, in that the heat cycle will end after the spay. No more heat cycles and this might help. I have no idea why they would be related, but IF THEY ARE then yes. If the infestation is worms or due to a wound, then the spay will not help at all. If she has a vaginal problem, then likely yes.

  50. Nilda Castillo says:

    My one year old pitbull is an indoor pet and I decided to leave her in the yard for a week a few a hours a day and all of a sudden she got a really nasty rash or bites all over her body till the point where she’s shedding her hair where the bite/ rash is and now she has opened wounds. I don’t know if something is eating her alive because I don’t see anything and unfortunately I live on disability and can’t afford to register my dog much less take her to a vet. I do know that my next door neighbors dog is infested with fleas and my neighbor had the yard sprayed but I don’t know what’s causing this to my dog. She’s not vomiting nor does she have diarrhea, nor scratching so I’m confused as to what is happening to her . I love my dog she’s family and I’m really worried about her can you please help me . please email me

    • Dr. Stewart says:

      Sounds like you need a vet visit or an ASPCA visit. It could certainly be fleas and a severe flea allergy. This is the most likely scenario. Why did you leave an indoor pet outside? There are many manges and allergies that can do this as well as a staph infection and other parasites. I would try try try to get to a vet for an exam. Sounds like she needs antibiotics and skin work up. Treat the fleas first if they are there. You can start with a good bath/shampoo with a mild dish soap, then examine her for fleas and go from there. Once a day bath or shampoo is the MOST I would do. Oatmeal baths work well too, but in the end a vet visit will e most helpful and maybe save you money on trial and error treatments. Good luck!

  51. Joe says:

    Hi my name is Joe. My 3 year old Rottie was attacked by a pit about 3 days ago. They were going at it for about 30 minutes. She has holes in both arms from the pitbulls bites. She is walking and eating just fine. A little discomfort when she sleeps but today i noticed the holes have maggots coming out of them. I flushed them out with water and peroxide twice and they keep coming back. I won’t be able to get her to the vet until tomorrow. Is there anything i can do to keep the maggots away until then. I feel bad for her. She keeps biting at the wounds. Please help. Thanks in advance.

    • Dr. Stewart says:

      Sorry for the late reply. I assume you made it to the vet. THIS IS SERIOUS. Maggots are not good in wounds like this and your dog likely needs serious medical attention. You need immediate vet care.

  52. Hey Doc,
    I just picked up a kitten from the streets today and adopted her got my mom in with the Idea and now she’s doing fine the only thing I’d like to point out was that I picked her up once and later I found a maggot crawling around me arm gave me the jitters at first I was in denial it was the cat but as the day rolled by mom told me the maggot could have come from Raptor’s rear end and I started thinking this isn’t what I want for my new friend or myself I just picked her up around the street in the Philippines and was wondering if I could bring her to a vet but that takes money I don’t have yet was wondering what could be the best thing to do the maggot crawling around my arm wasn’t big mind you and I was just hoping to know if that type of maggot isn’t anything to worry about I’d appreciate any help sir thank you

    • Dr. Stewart says:

      Sorry but without seeing the cat or the maggot I can not help much. Best thing is to got to a vet as soon as possible and have the cat checked out. Maybe try to give the cat a good bath and see if there is anything obvious that is causing the maggots. Good luck.

Leave a Reply

Site search

Blog post archives