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What are Fly Bites?

Flies prey on the dog's ears and sometimes bridge of their nose for the tender skin here and the inability of the dog to protect this area. In severe infestations, the dogs can develop a secondary infection. The flies may lay their eggs in the open wound they created or any open wound they find. In cases such as this, the dog often has to be anesthetized and the wound cleaned of maggots and dead skin by a veterinarian.

Fly biting often affects dogs that work on farms or live in a primarily outdoor environment. Small breed dogs and cats are rarely affected. Dogs who do not live entirely out of doors are less likely to affected. Dogs with upright ears, who are also most commonly working dogs, such as German Shepherds and Collies are the most afflicted.

Fly Bites Average Cost

From 296 quotes ranging from $200 - $800

Average Cost

$400

Symptoms of Fly Bites in Dogs

If you see flies on or near your pet it is quite likely that fly bites are occurring. To diagnose after the event, the ears especially, the edges will have small red bumps that are dark and crusty and sometimes bleed.

  • Itching
  • Redness on skin
  • Bumps on the skin
  • Bites that may bleed or crust over
  • Bite wounds
  • Presence of flies in the fur

Types

  • Stable fly
  • Horse fly
  • Black fly
  • Mosquitoes
  • Sand flies
  • Biting midges (no-see-ums)
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Causes of Fly Bites in Dogs

  • Flies are parasitic and are attracted to warm-blooded mammals for a fresh meal
  • The flies may also choose to lay their eggs in an open wound
  • Matted fecal matter in the dog's coat may attract flies
  • Unclean kennel areas exacerbate the problem
  • Horse or farm animal stables in close proximity to the dog’s quarters can lead to fly strike
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Diagnosis of Fly Bites in Dogs

If you see that your companion is suffering from multiple bites, a veterinarian visit may be warranted. Secondary infection can be a complication with an over abundance of fly bites. In addition, if your pet has open wounds, certain species of flies may cause a botfly infestation or other parasitic infection. Severe infestations, when maggots are present, are known as myiasis or fly strike.

Diagnosis can be made by your veterinarian by inspection of the bite. Most characteristically the ears, especially the edges will be affected. They will appear sore and sometimes crusty with blood.

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Treatment of Fly Bites in Dogs

Prevention is the best treatment for fly biting in dogs. Flies are attracted to decaying matter, urine, feces, and standing water. Keeping your pet’s kennel and nearby areas free from leaves, grass clippings, uneaten food, and fecal matter of any kind will help. It is also important to keep your dog well groomed. Regular bathing and if necessary, clipping to rid your dog of matted fur can make a big difference. Bring your dog inside during peak fly times. Better yet, give even working dogs time inside of the home.

If an infestation has occurred but is not too severe, home remedies may be applied. Because of the sensitive nature of the ears, delicate care is needed. Gently clean the affected area with warm water and a mild soap. It is best to keep the dog inside as much as possible while the wounds heal. When the dog is outside protect the ears with a petroleum product. Neosporin is most recommended. Commercial pyrethrin products can be used to deter pests. Some people add an insecticide or deet to the petroleum product that serves as a barrier for future insect bites. You may also consider spraying your dog’s kennel area to further deter pests. A bug zapper will help with most flies except mosquitoes. Fly tape hung high enough to not get tangled in your dog’s fur can aid.

If the infestation is too severe, especially if maggots are present, veterinarian help is needed. Because the procedure is very painful most veterinarians will recommend that the dog is anesthetized while they remedy the affected area.

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Recovery of Fly Bites in Dogs

Prognosis is generally good unless a maggot infestation is severe. In this case, the ears may experience scarring and remain thickened. Otherwise, cleaning up the kennel or stable area brings good resolution. Reinfestation is easy if desirable habit reoccurs near the dog’s kennel area. Tidy homestead practices can keep trouble at bay.

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Fly Bites Average Cost

From 296 quotes ranging from $200 - $800

Average Cost

$400

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Fly Bites Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Great Pyrenees

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Three Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Bleeding

My Great Pyrenees has had flies all over him lately and they are eating away at the bridge of his nose. He is always bleeding and it looks like his skin there is red and bleeding. We tried to put some neosporin but it only helps so much. He doesn’t like it and runs it away and the flies still come back. What can we do?

July 25, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Sara O. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Hello, SO sorry to hear about your dog. You can apply some fly strike cream that is used for horses to this spot to try to deter the fly. You can get this from a vet who treats horses or your local feed store. If this area is infected, your dog may need antibiotics to help clear this infection. Flys will commonly lay their eggs in wounds and cause your dog to have maggots that you have to deal with. I hope your dog starts to feel better soon.

July 25, 2020

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Chancellor

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Chi/Rat Terrier

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1 Year

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Fair severity

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2 found helpful

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Welps On Body

We love sitting on our porch late in the evening and I got to noticing these welps on Chancellor’s back. They was all over him , itchy and painful. A friend of mine told me they was fly bites. SHE told me put apple cider vinegar in his water and they would stop biting him. It worked but the bites made awful sores. They are not infested. I am cleaning them and using triple antibiotic cream on them.

Sept. 16, 2018

Chancellor's Owner

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Reeses

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Labrador Retriever

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8 Months

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Redness
Bleeding
Open Wound

About two weeks ago I realized that my lab had a scab but I didn't think much of it. Well a week ago it turned into an open wound and was bloody so I took her to the vet (it isn't bloody anymore but it is still an open wound). The vet told me that it was caused by flies biting her and gave me an ointment that repels flies but it has not been doing much. They are outside dogs and my neighbors have horses in their backyard so I was wondering if there is anything I can do to help my labs get better and about how long it could take for their wounds to completely heal. Their wounds are pretty severe. Thank you very much

Aug. 9, 2018

Reeses' Owner

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3320 Recommendations

The fly control can be difficult especially when near horses, there is no one single all round effective method it is just a case of finding a product which works for you (or your Labs), ask your neighbours what they use on their pets for an idea. As for the wounds, they should be kept clean regularly (at least twice per day); healing time would depend on severity (how wide and deep) but may take a few weeks to be healed in some cases. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Aug. 9, 2018

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Winston

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Labrador Retriever

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2 Years

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Fair severity

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0 found helpful

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Redness

Had our yellow lab at the beach recently. We all got bit by horse flys and mosquitos. Found some round bruses on our pups belly, on his pee pee, and on the inside of his leg. Could this be from horse flys? We tried to swat away as much as we could from him but i know he had some bleeding from bites.

June 24, 2018

Winston's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

Those spots may be from the fly bites and bruised, but he may also have a bleeding problem if all those bruises showed up suddenly. To be safe, it would be a good idea to have him seen by a veterinarian, as I can't examine him, and they can look at him and make sure that he is okay.

June 25, 2018

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Ivy

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German Shorthaired Pointer

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3 Months

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Fair severity

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0 found helpful

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Red Spots
Bug Bite

We have been camping with our puppy the last few days but yesterday we noticed a red spot (red ring with a red dot inside) on her inner back leg. She didn’t seem irritated by it and it doesn’t seem to hurt her but this morning we found another red spot near her butt. The second spot is just how the first one was but now the first one is all red. Not sure if this is a fly bite? Should we give her Benadryl and would this clear up on it’s own?

June 22, 2018

Ivy's Owner

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recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

A ‘bullseye’ lesion on the skin is characteristic of tick bites or some bites of other insects; if you live in an area with tick borne diseases like Lyme Disease I would recommend that you visit your Veterinarian to be on the safe side for an examination and a discussion. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

June 23, 2018

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Fly Bites Average Cost

From 296 quotes ranging from $200 - $800

Average Cost

$400

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