Fly Bites in Dogs

Veterinary reviewed by: Dr. Linda Simon, MVB MRCVS

Fly Bites in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

Veterinary reviewed by: Dr. Linda Simon, MVB MRCVS

Fly Bites in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

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. Similarly, the rump area is often a target. 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.

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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, on 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 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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Worried about the cost of Fly Bites treatment?

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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 a desirable fly habitat 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

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Ivy

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German Shorthaired Pointer

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3 Months

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1 found helpful

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1 found helpful

Has Symptoms

Bug Bite
Red Spots

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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1 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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Mazy

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Collie German Shepard mix

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2 Years

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2 found helpful

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2 found helpful

Has Symptoms

Itching, Crustiness, Oozing

There is a open wound from fly biting what would be the best thing to do. We also can’t really get away from the flys due to we have 2 horses and we have tried antiseptic spray but the horses are attracting the flies so we really don’t know what to do

June 15, 2018

Mazy's Owner

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2 Recommendations

It is important to try and keep any wound clean and free from debris; it can be difficult to control flies on ranches, livery yards, farms and similar properties but I’m sure you’re already using some type of fly control but if you’re not you should. You should bathe the wound with a dilute antiseptic and apply Neosporin to the wound to help create a carrier to the outside world. If there is no improvement, you should consider visiting your Veterinarian. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

June 15, 2018

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Fly Bites Average Cost

From 296 quotes ranging from $200 - $800

Average Cost

$400

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