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Fly Bites


Flys-Off Ointment Fly Repellent

Dogs, especially those with upright ears, often have fly bites on the inside tips of their ears. The stable fly, often called the biting housefly, looks like a regular housefly, but has a bayonet-like, needle-sharp mouthpart that it uses to obtain blood meals. Stable flies prefer horses, and live primarily in the midwestern and southeastern states.

Dogs with fly bites on the ears won't have much bleeding, but the ear margins and tops will be crusty from teh inflammation and serum that leaks from the bites. Little dogs are rarely bothered, but big dogs more often live outside, where they are exposed to summer flies.

First you have to soften the scab. Hold a washcloth soaked with warm water against the dogs sore ear to soften the scabs and crusty material. This may take a few minutes until it is soft enough to be wiped away.

Once the crusty material is gone, wash the raw areas with an antiseptic liquid soap like Betadine Sking Cleanser, and be sure to rinse off the soap. Use an over the counter antibiotic ointment like Neosporin to help sooth the inflammation and prevent ears from getting infected.

Fly bites make the ears very sore, and they'll continue to leak serum and crust up for several days, even without more bites. Keep the sores clean by wiping off the excess crust at least once a day. use a soft cloth or gauze pad soaked in water or sterile saline contact lens solution.

Apply the antibiotic ointment in a thick layer several times a day. This not only helps prevent infection but also provides a barrierto keep the flies aay. You'll need to reapply it very often because pets tend to wipe off the ointment by wiping their sore ears against objects.

Another problem that flies can cause, is maggots. Flies can find sores that are hidden under a pet's thick fur or seek out the debris that collects in skin folds of wrinkle-skinned dogs like the Shar-Pei. They also target rotten tumors, abscesses, healing incisions from surgeries, and infected ears. The flies lay eggs in less than 24 hours, and the wriggling white worms eat the dead tissue and drainage from the sore, which can become very large and serious very quickly.

Most wounds infested with maggots need medical attention. It's not the maggots that are dangerous, but whatever caused the weak or sick condition that allowed the dog to attract the flies. It's a nasty job, but easy for you to clean out the maggots if you cannot get the dog to a vet right away (vet closed, holiday, etc).

To do it yourself, clipper the fur that surrounds the wound and pick out the maggots with some tweezers. If the wound is very deep, they may be hard to reach. Fill the tub with lukewarm water or use a spray attachment to fill the wound with water to flush out the debris and parasites. Continue to flush the area for at least 15 minutes- the maggots will do their best to escape the wound so that they don't drown. The water flush also gets rid of any fly eggs that havent hatched so that there wont be a new crop of maggots.

In all cases, the dog will need antibiotics to help the wound heal and fight the infection that drew the maggots. The sore should be rinsed with saline solution a couple times a day as well as having a a topical antibiotic cream like Neosporin should be used a couple times a day.