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Parasite Skin Infection in a dog :: Symptoms, treatment and recovery
Wednesday, 31 October 2007
In august 2007 our Canadian white Sheppard suffered a parasite skin infection on her right back leg. The result was a 4 week long fight against larvae inside her skin stopping the wound from healing. For anyone travelling with a dog in Asia – here you find a description of symptoms, treatment and aftermath of the infection. Parasite skin infections in animals are quite common in Asia – they are very easily contracted and rapid treatment is the key to quick recovery. Untreated parasite skin infection can cause nasty deep wounds (even death) and take a very long time to heal. During play Indra – our Canadian white Sheppard – hurt the front part of her right hind leg in Amritsar - India. It was a tiny scratch exposing a small part of her skin, not bigger than the head of match. We thought nothing of it – we cleaned it with a little Iodine and went on.

The next day the small wound looked healed – however it seemed there was a little puss under the closed wound – it looked grey. We treated the wound again now with Dettol and iodine. The next morning however, the small wound had become a hole with puss.

That same day the vet came for Indra’s yearly inoculations – we showed him the wound to. He knew immediately what was wrong and treated the wound with anti-parasite medication (a Trichlorfon solution) and removed 4 larvae. Removing some of the fur round the wound exposed deep red infected skin – quite hard to detect when there’s fur covering it.

A larvae causing a Parasite Skin Infection
Removed from a parasite infected wound
Next the wound was treated with iodine to disinfect the area. The edges of the wound where covered with an anti-septic and fly-repellent ointment to help the skin recover and keep any flies away. The ointment is Ayurvedic, called Himax from IH (Indian Herbs) Uttar Pradesh – Saharanpur. It’s a wide spectrum skin ointment for cattle . To be on the safe side Indra received an anti-biotic and an anti-inflammatory jab and anti-biotic tablets for the coming 5 days.

The initial small wound had apparently been exploited by a fly which had laid eggs in the exposed skin. Dog skin heals pretty quickly covering the eggs of the fly too. Hence a parasite infection started. The parasites develop very fast and start living on the flesh and puss of the wound.

That afternoon Indra started to have spells of intense licking of her wound. Her behaviour was nervous indicated strong itching in her hind leg. It was impossible to prevent Indra from licking the wound – she kept walking around and had no peace for many hours. We kept her inside to prevent any new flies to infect the open wound.

That evening 1 dead larvae was found in the wound – this one looked a lot bigger than the first 4 white ones. Again the wound was cleaned, flushed and treated with anti-parasitic solution.
Treated wound of a Parasite Skin Infection
Treated parasite skin infection

The next days we kept on doing the same – we removed another 4 dead larvae from the wound. The hole in her leg now had the diameter of 10 mm and 5 mm deep. The skin around her wound still looked quite infected. Her itchy behaviour had stopped – however her reflex to lick the wound was still very strong.

The 2nd week recovery started – the hole slowly got smaller but it kept on leaking puss. It seemed to us there were more parasites deeper in her leg. At the end of the week we removed another 5 dead larvae from her wound. Her body had flushed them out from tiny holes inside the wound. We kept on treating her leg with iodine and the ointment.

The 3rd week the hole in her leg was again a little smaller – but very slow recovery. During this week we found 2 more dead larvae. After this the wound suddenly healed pretty quickly – it seemed the worst was over now.

Then in the 4th week we discovered 4 humps round the wound. It looked like new abscesses deep under her skin – one had opened already and started leaking puss.

After closer inspection the pattern looked like larvae had travelled from the original wound to other parts of her leg. The biggest abscess was about 5 cm away from the original wound. We sat there amazed by the impact of these parasites. After consulting the vet we kept on treating the wounds with iodine and the anti-septic ointment and started again with anti-biotic medication (Amoxycillin) for 10 days.

In the next days the abscesses got smaller and it seemed that was the last of it. The first wound is now hairless and will probably stay like that.

The vet told us these parasite infections are very common. A small wound in an animal has a very high chance of becoming the breeding place for a parasite. The result is large holes in the skin – also big infections which in turn attract more flies. When untreated an animal chance to survive diminishes very rapidly. Fighting street dogs are a common victim of parasitic infections.

Here you find pictures of the wound and a larvae.

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