A couple of years ago, many dog owners became shocked upon seeing pictures that surfaced online showing Asian lady beetles infesting a dog’s mouth. At the time, health authorities and pest control professionals were using the graphic pictures to raise awareness about the little known condition that is infesting more and more dogs each year. Now, experts are warning all dog owners to be on the lookout for the bugs every holiday season, which is when these bugs seek refuge within, surprisingly enough, dog’s mouths.
The undesirable bugs that attempt to establish themselves within the oral cavity of dogs are known as Asian lady beetles, and they look almost exactly like typical spotted ladybugs. Asian lady beetles thrive within excessively humid environments, and once the cold of winter sets in, these bugs gravitate indoors where they continue to search for properly humid environments where they can set up camp for the duration of the winter season. These insects latch themselves tightly to the roofs of dog’s mouths and removing them is extremely difficult and time consuming. Each lady beetle must be removed with tweezers one at a time from a dog’s mouth in order to ensure that victimized dogs do not experience any related health problems in the future. While this condition may seem parasitic, it is actually a unique form of infestation. The lady beetles that infest dog’s mouths at this time of year are merely pests looking for an environment where they can survive for the winter.
Lady beetles usually find their way into the mouths of dogs while dogs are sniffing around in their owner’s yard. This is why dogs should be monitored carefully when the climate cools during the late fall and early winter. Most dogs will inadvertently swallow several Asian lady beetles during the transition from fall to winter, but full blown mouth infestations rarely occur. However, merely swallowing an Asian lady beetle can be an unpleasant experience for a dog, as these insects release bodily fluids that are poisonous and foul-smelling. These fluids also burn the inside of a dog’s mouth as well as a dog’s gastrointestinal tract. When infestations of Asian lady beetles do take form within a dog’s mouth, veterinarians can prescribe antibiotics to treat the wounds caused by the insects after removing them with tweezers.
Do you worry about your dog acquiring an Asian lady beetle infestation within his/her mouth?