When it comes to tiny bugs that creep and crawl, ladybugs tend to be on the more delightful end of the spectrum, but as we learned this week from a viral post, that is definitely not always the case.
Hoisington, Kansas veterinarian Dr. Lindsay Mitchell caused a stir on Facebook when she posted a graphic photo of a dog with a mouthful of Asian Lady Beetles living on the roof of his mouth.
“This is the second pup I have seen like this today. If your pet is drooling or foaming at the mouth look for these lady bugs. They cause ulcers on the tongue and mouth and have a very painful bite,” the vet wrote on the Hoisington Veterinary Hospital Facebook page.
The dog’s frightened owner Frances Jiriks, told KAKE Wichita, “Night before last when he came in to eat, he didn’t eat. He was just lethargic and foaming at the mouth.” At the vet it was discovered he had about 40 of the bugs biting in his mouth.
Although the Asian Lady Beetle is quite rare, they have been swarming in Baron County, Kansas and the vet told Great Bend Tribune that she’d never seen anything like this in the two dogs and had to research what was happening.
The orange bugs are different from their reddish cousins, as they emit a foul smell and yellow secretion when squished. They are also aggressive and bite, unlike normal ladybugs. Mitchell said the bugs could create long term problems if left untreated.
“I posted the photo not to freak people out, but to provide pet owners with an action to take in case they find one of their pets drooling excessively or with apparent foaming at the mouth,” Mitchell told the newspaper.
“They could avoid a trip to the veterinarian’s office if they check their pet’s mouth, and if they find the beetles, they can simply remove them with their finger or a tongue depressor,” the vet said. She also reminded dog owners to get their pets checked out if they are worried.
“They aren’t like a tick, so there is no worry that a head or any part of the animal will be left behind to hurt the animal further.”