The rains and humid weather conditions trigger a windfall of maggot-wound related calls on the Jaagruti helpline…we want to share through this very brief post a basic summary on how we treat/get treated dogs with maggot wounds.
What are Maggots and how do they infest an animal? :
Maggots are insects that eat into the flesh and organs of any animal, be it a calf, a cat, a tiger or a dog. A maggot infestation is triggered when flies lay eggs into any untreated open wound on the animal’s body. The larvae that come out of these eggs keep multiplying, as more flies keep sitting on the wound which is growing bigger by the minute and as a result, the maggots double every 5-6 hours, feeding happily on the flesh of the animal whose body they have made their home in.
Where and how will you see maggots or understand that the animal is infested with maggots and requires treatment?
You won’t see maggots crawling like ticks or lice on the skin surface or hair, instead what you will see is a ‘hole’ in the body of the animal and maggots crawling their way inside it eating away the flesh and body organs, you will smell rotting flesh…and the stinking smell will only get worse as the maggots multiply and penetrate through the body of the unfortunate animal.
How to prevent Maggot infestation?
Prevention is surely better than cure, when it comes to Maggot wounds. Please try to understand that maggot wounds can be fatal/life threatening if no treated on time…also note that maggot infestations occur when any small wound on an animal’s body is left untreated…that is where it all starts from and especially so in humid weather! So, if you notice that your neighbourhood street dog has an open wound, do try cleaning it with cotton dipped in weak tincture iodine or Betadiene or Cipladine solution (which can be bought from your local chemist shop) and apply Himax on top of the wound (Himax is an Ayurvedic insect/fly repellent veterinary ointment, that costs only about Rs.40 per tube)….OR if you think the above cleaning and pasting ointment is difficult to execute, then please try to invest in topical veterinary sprays like Topicure or D-Mag spray and Gotbac powder that can be directly applied on an animal/dog’s open wound. These sprays will be available at your neighbourhood pet supplies shop or veterinarian’s clinic only and not at your local human chemist shop. All the above things shared under this section are preventive in intent and will help heal an animal’s open wound and prevent flies from turning it into a horrible maggot wound.
How to treat a maggot infested wound?
Once you spot a hole in the body parts or smell of rotting flesh in an animal..be rest assured that the smell is of maggots chewing away on the animal’s flesh…and multiplying I.e. doubling every 6 hours…only to make the animal’s life miserable….ACT FAST…keep a bottle of medicinal turpentine oil handy and pour a capful or two of it over and into the maggot infested wound. Then just let it act over the next 6-8 hours…as the medicine takes effect, you will either see the maggots popping out of the wound on the floor or large chunks of glued insects/dissolved and held together like blobs of pus coming out of the wound…if you can muster some courage, take a sterile tweezer to remove the dead maggots from the wound (clean the tweezers/blunt forceps with savlon or dettol solution properly prior to use)…but what if you can’t find Medicinal Turpentine oil at the chemist’s shop…then please remember – DO NOT PUT Painter’s Turpentine oil/kerosene oil/petrol/phenyl etc. into the maggot wound (a lot of people in villages and even otherwise do put all of these, which they shouldn’t because phenyl and petrol and kerosene also burn the animal’s good tissues)….so our suggestion is that in case you don’t find Medicinal Turpentine oil, invest in D-Mag or Topicure or Mag-fite spray and spray that into the maggot wound and let it be…it will have the same effect as described for Turpentine oil as described above. Keep spraying either of these sprays at-least once daily till all maggots are out and then once the maggots have cleared out…put Gotbac powder on the wounds and paste Himax ointment on the wounded area to prevent re-infestation of maggots.Slowly in a few days, fresh skin will start appearing and the open and wide maggot infested wound will heal and you will be glad that your little effort and investment helped save a life for sure…as maggot infestations don’t go away or cure or heal on their own, human intervention in the ways described above are absolutely essential!
We believe following the above steps does help…let us know if it works for you too.
Please refer to this Slideshow on Treatment of Maggot Wounds in Dogs