How Do Dogs Get Mango Worms? – Protecting Your Four-Legged Friend


Dogs, our loyal companions, can sometimes face unpleasant and uncomfortable health issues. One such issue is infestation by mango worms.

This article discusses how dogs get infected by these parasites, what the signs and symptoms are, and how pet owners can protect their furry friends from these troublesome insects.

The Basics

Mango worms, scientifically known as Cordylobia anthropophaga, are a species of parasitic fly larvae. They primarily infect mammals, including humans and dogs, in tropical regions, particularly in Africa.

What Are Mango Worms?

Mango worms are larvae of a specific kind of fly found in tropical regions. These larvae are parasitic, causing discomfort and health issues to the host they infest. The female mango fly lays her eggs in the soil or on damp clothes and linens.

The larvae, once hatched, can penetrate the skin of a host when it comes into contact with them. The host can be a human, a dog, or another mammal.

What Are Mango Worms

Life Cycle of Mango Worms

Understanding the life cycle of mango worms is crucial to comprehend how dogs get infected. The mango worm’s life cycle comprises four stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult fly.

  • Egg: The female mango fly lays hundreds of eggs in the soil or on damp clothes.
  • Larva: The eggs hatch into larvae, which then look for a host.
  • Pupa: After infesting a host, the larvae drop to the ground and develop into pupae.
  • Adult Fly: After pupation, adult flies emerge, ready to lay eggs and continue the cycle.

How Dogs Get Infected

Dogs become hosts to mango worms usually by lying or rolling on the ground where the eggs are present, which is a common behavior in dogs.

Environmental Exposure

Dogs love exploring their environment, and their curious nature makes them vulnerable to mango worm infestations. When dogs are outdoors, especially in tropical climates, they may roll or lie down on soil where female mango flies have laid their eggs. Once in contact with a suitable host, the larvae penetrate the skin, leading to infestation.

Signs of Infection

Signs of Infection - Mango Worms in Dogs

A mango worm infestation is usually identified by the presence of a swollen, painful lump on the dog’s skin, often with a small hole at the center. When the larvae mature, they create a visible, painful lump under the skin, known as a furuncle.

Pet owners may notice their dogs excessively licking or biting at one area, signaling discomfort. It is essential to consult a veterinarian immediately if such symptoms are observed.

Treatment and Management

Once a dog is infested with mango worms, prompt action is essential to manage the condition and relieve the dog’s discomfort.

Immediate Action

If you suspect your dog has a mango worm infestation, consult a vet immediately. The vet typically removes the larva by applying gentle pressure around the lump, forcing the larva to emerge.

It is crucial not to try and remove the larva at home, as improper removal can lead to complications.

Post-Removal Care

After the larva has been successfully removed, caring for the wound is vital to prevent secondary infections.

  • Keep the wound clean and dry.
  • Apply prescribed topical medications.
  • Monitor the wound regularly for signs of infection.

Preventive Measures

Preventing mango worm infestation primarily involves avoiding environments where the larvae are prevalent, especially in tropical areas.

  • Avoid letting your dog roll or lie on the ground in infested areas.
  • Regularly wash your dog’s bedding and keep it dry.
  • Maintain a clean environment, reducing the chances of flies laying eggs nearby.

Mango Worm - Preventive Measures in Dogs

The Impact

The impact of mango worms on dogs can be significant, causing discomfort, pain, and, if not treated, secondary infections. Let’s delve deeper into the consequences and long-term effects of mango worm infestation.

Long-Term Effects

Mango worms can lead to enduring health issues if not promptly addressed. When a dog is infested, the wound left by the larva can become infected if not treated and managed properly. These secondary infections can be more severe and harder to treat than the initial infestation.

Regular veterinary check-ups are essential to monitor the dog’s recovery and ensure no long-term damage has occurred.


The complications arising from mango worm infestations often stem from improper removal or untreated wounds. Improper removal can lead to parts of the larva being left inside, causing infections, abscess formation, and tissue damage.

Untreated wounds can become hotbeds for bacterial growth, leading to severe infections and complications, emphasizing the importance of proper veterinary care.

Mango Worms and Human Risk

It’s crucial to understand that mango worms not only affect animals but also pose a considerable risk to humans, especially in areas where they are prevalent.

Human Infection

Mango Worms and Human Risk

Humans are also susceptible to mango worm infestations, usually through contact with infested soil or damp clothing. Humans acquire mango worm larvae in much the same way as dogs, usually when in contact with contaminated soil or damp clothes.

Infestations can be painful and, in severe cases, lead to complications. Awareness and preventive measures are crucial, especially when residing in or visiting tropical areas prone to mango worms.

Mitigating Risks

To mitigate risks of mango worm infections in humans, it is crucial to adopt preventive measures, especially in endemic areas.

  • Avoid walking barefoot on the soil in areas where mango worms are prevalent.
  • Ensure clothes are thoroughly dried and not left damp in the open.
  • Maintain personal hygiene and be vigilant of any unusual skin lumps or discomfort.

Key Takeaways

Mango worm infestations can be painful and uncomfortable for both dogs and humans.

Understanding and Awareness

By understanding the life cycle of mango worms, and being aware of the risks, dog owners and individuals can better protect themselves and their pets from infestations.

Knowledge is a powerful tool in preventing and managing mango worm infestations. Being informed about the risks, signs, and treatment options enables one to act promptly, minimizing the impact of the infestation.

Proactive Prevention

Adopting preventive measures such as maintaining cleanliness and avoiding exposure in high-risk areas can significantly reduce the risk of infestation.

  • Regular veterinary check-ups for pets.
  • Maintaining cleanliness of living environment.
  • Being vigilant about possible signs of infection.

Responsible Pet Ownership

As a responsible pet owner, it is essential to ensure the well-being of our furry companions by being informed, vigilant, and proactive in preventing and treating mango worm infestations.

Taking responsibility involves regular check-ups, immediate action in case of infestation, and creating a safe and clean living environment for pets, ensuring their happiness and health.


Can mango worms infest dogs in regions outside the tropics?

While mango worms are predominantly found in tropical regions, particularly in Africa, dogs in non-tropical areas can also be at risk, especially if they have traveled to or are imported from endemic regions.

Therefore, it is important to be vigilant regardless of your geographical location and seek veterinary advice if an infestation is suspected.

Can mango worm infestations reoccur in dogs that have been previously infected?

Yes, dogs that have been previously infected with mango worms can be re-infested if they are exposed to the larvae again. It is important to maintain preventive measures consistently to avoid re-infestation.

Can mango worms be transmitted from dogs to humans or vice versa?

No, mango worms cannot be directly transmitted from dogs to humans or from humans to dogs. Both species get infected through environmental exposure, usually by coming into contact with soil where mango fly eggs have been laid.

How long does it take for mango worm larvae to mature under the skin of the host?

The mango worm larvae typically take about 8-12 days to mature under the skin of the host. Once mature, the larvae will create a furuncle or boil-like lump on the skin as they prepare to exit the host to pupate in the soil.

Are there any specific breeds of dogs that are more susceptible to mango worm infestations?

There is no evidence to suggest that specific breeds of dogs are more susceptible to mango worm infestations. All dogs are equally at risk if exposed to the larvae, especially in endemic regions.


Can regular anti-parasitic treatments prevent mango worm infestations in dogs?

Regular anti-parasitic treatments are generally not effective against mango worm larvae as they are external parasites that live in the host’s skin rather than internal parasites.

Preventing exposure to the larvae, maintaining a clean environment, and regular veterinary check-ups are the best preventive measures against mango worm infestations.

Final Words

Mango worms pose a significant risk to dogs, particularly those residing in or traveling to tropical regions. A clear understanding of what mango worms are, how dogs get infected, and how to manage and prevent infestations is crucial for every responsible pet owner.

By taking necessary preventive measures and acting promptly if an infestation occurs, dog owners can ensure the well-being and happiness of their furry companions.

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