You have probably come here with the question “What are wolf worms in dogs? what causes them? Its symptoms? What is its prevention and treatment for your cute little friend?
If you are a dog owner or dog lover same as me, you have been thinking that how much painful and haunting this would be for your pet dog. Luckily, there are various steps you can take to help your pet dog get rid of wolf worms, which are explained in detail below.
What Exactly Are Wolf Worms?
Wolf worms are parasitic larvae that rely on animals like mice and squirrels, but they may also infect our dogs and puppies. They are also known as warbles or botfly larvae, and they are horrible parasitic worms that cause a lot of suffering to our friends.
Once the botfly lays its eggs on your dog’s open wound and openings like ear, nose, and eyes, it will begin to grow inside the host and eventually emerge as wolf worms via holes like nose, ears, etc. Other worms and parasites are pretty less visible and may be difficult to detect with the naked eye as compared to wolf worms. Comparatively wolf worms are easily detectable. Unlikely, the wolf worm is known to cause severe discomfort to your dog and should be treated as soon as possible.
The botfly larvae are the parasite that attacks dog skin. The mature botfly, which looks like a bee or horsefly, is comparatively as harmful as the teen, the larvae it produces are the source of the difficulties. Inside your dog’s body, these larvae will develop and create wolf worms.
Wolf worms are simple to cure, but the overall procedure and treatment can be difficult to observe and time-consuming.
Where Do Wolf Worms Come From?
Botfly larvae are the source of wolf worms that attack dogs and other animals. Adult bot flies deposit their larvae in the entrances of bunny and rat holes, making it a great location to infect this poor animal. Your dog being curious by nature investigates these holes and as a result, the larvae get stick with the fur.
The botfly lays its eggs in these holes because it is a great place for its larva to develop and thrive since there are plenty of nutrients already available.
Directly through adult botflies
Adult bot flies can directly lay their eggs onto your dog’s skin, making it an even worse case.
Through a mosquito bite
In another case, bot flies can transfer their eggs to your dog through a mosquito with a bite. Yeah, you heard that right, dogs also get mosquito bites. The botfly attacks the mosquito’s body with its eggs and infects the mosquito. Later, when the mosquito bites your dog, it penetrates the botfly eggs into your dog’s body through the wound where it has bitten your dog.
Through swallowing botfly larvae
If there are any other bot fly larvae onto the dog’s skin, he will lick them off while licking his body. The egg may be swallowed unintentionally. It will then grow, just like the other larvae, and bore into the tissues of the dog.
Life Cycle Of A Wolf Worm
Symptoms Of Wolf Worms
If unluckily wolf worms infect your dog after you have read this article, diagnosing the issue won’t be a difficult task for you. A bloated, mass-like skin area with a puncture wound-like hole is the most common symptom.
The swelling might be red, unpleasant, or irritating for the poor dog. Other symptoms can also develop if the larva shifts from one part of the skin to another. If the larva shifts into the eyes or nose, one or both of the eyes can swell while the nose can bleed or cause bad breath from your dog.
Some other notable symptoms are:
- An almost 1-inch hole into your dog’s skin with swelling and red edges.
- On the growing wound, a worm-like pale crawling organism was spotted.
- If the wolf worms affect your dog’s nose, he or she will sneeze often.
- Your dog’s nose has a yellow nostril flow.
- Your dog’s eyes will swell if his eyes are infected by the larvae
- On the eye, there is a golden fluid flow.
- Squinting his or her eyes.
Treatment to Eliminate Wolf Worms from Your Dog
Vets generally treat your dogs and kill the wolf-worms through their nostrils. To keep your dog calm during the procedure of opening the hole for parasite extraction, anesthesia or sedation may be required.
You have to be extra careful because removal of the parasite can cause rough skin reactions to your dog, which might also be painful for your dog. However, these reactions are not as much painful as wolf worms are, and these reactions are also easily curable.
Antibiotics may be required after the worm removal. If more larva is detected but cannot be extracted, the vet will prescribe anti-parasitic medicines. This course of medicine may stretch to a week or more because the elimination of wolf worms is not an easy job, neither for the vet nor for your fluffy friend.
Prevention Of Wolf Worms
Just like heartworms and fleas, wolf worms are also looking for a host. These steps can help reduce the risk.
Not Letting them Play Outside
A cure is always better than the treatment and honestly, I do not intend to break your hopes but prevention of wolf worms in dogs is an extremely difficult job. Prevention can only be possible if your dog stops going out, which is impossible too because your buddy loves to play outside with grass, kids, and balls. However, you can keep an eye on them.
Keeping An Eye On Them
When they are outdoor you should watch and make sure that your dog doesn’t go to any un-hygienic area or near the plants of your garden which may be a home for the worms or parasites.
Inspect And Groom Them
When they come home, you can check them for any worms. When your pet returns indoors, be sure to groom them with a brush to eliminate any possible risk.
Cleaning their sleeping space
Disinfecting their sleeping space and matting regularly helps guarantee that no botfly larvae are left while you were combing your furry friend.
Don’t Let Him Play In Rain
It is best to keep your dog indoors in rainy weather because botflies are more prone to attack them in the wet season.
Visit a Vet Regularly
Checking in at a vet clinic regularly can also prevent future wolf parasites, as the doctor will diagnose and remove them before they cause severe problems for your dog.
Can A De-Wormer Help In This Situation?
The simple answer to this question is YES, a De-Wormer can help your little friend get rid of wolf worms. However, never use any De-Wormer without the advice of a vet, even if you think your know everything about it.
Is it Safe to Live with a Dog infected by Wolf Worms?
The short answer to this question is NO, Wolf worms can’t affect humans so they can’t be transferred from your dogs to you. However, you should be extra careful while touching or playing with a dog who has wolf worms, because the wound of the dog can have different types of germs which may affect you and cause multiple skins or health issues.
Home treatment for wolf worms
Firstly, I would recommend you to not take any risk and consult a vet. If you still want to treat your dog’s wolf worms at home, use the following methods:
Bath your dog with lukewarm water and apply some shampoo to his whole body and the infected area too. Warm water will lose up his skin and open his pores. Right after the bath, you can use tools like a tweezer and forceps to remove the parasite.
Still, I would recommend you to not try this at home, as this may cause some other serious health issues to your dog. The best option is to go for a vet.