Frances Jirik noticed something odd about her dog, Bailey, when he refused to eat. The dog also became lethargic and started foaming at the mouth.
A Kansas pet owner was horrified to find a ladybug infestation in her dog’s mouth.
“He was just lethargic, real lethargic and the foam was just coming. It was kind of scary,” Jirik told KWCH.
Jiriks brought her dog to a local vet where doctors discovered 30 to 40 insects stuck on the roof of the dog’s mouth.
The bites can leave an open wound in a dog’s mouth, leading to serious consequences, according to veterinarian Dr. Lindsay Mitchell.
“Definitely it’s painful,” said Mitchell. “They’ll have some pain, they won’t want to eat as well, and they run the chance of infection if they have those ulcers there.”
Mitchell posted a photo of the infestation on social media, reports Red Book.
“This is the second pup I have seen like this today,” Mitchell wrote on Facebook. “If your pet is drooling or foaming at the mouth, look for these ladybugs. They cause ulcers on the tongue and mouth and have a very painful bite.”
Mitchell’s photo and warning quickly became viral and caught the attention of many pet owners.
One Facebook user wrote, “Thank you, thank you, thank you for posting this. I noticed my son’s little dog had not eaten his food from yesterday. I went on to finish chores, then turned around to check his mouth. He had just a little foam around the mouth. When I opened his mouth it was covered worse than this photo.”
The Asian ladybugs are also referred to as harlequin lady beetles and can be credited to a surge in the local aphid population.
“With a lot of aphids, they produced a lot of ladybugs to be able to attack and eat and control the aphids,” Barton County Extension Agent Alicia Boor told KWCH.
According to Snopes, there’s no concrete evidence that Asian lady bugs are harmful to pets and many users identified the bugs in Bailey’s mouth as common ladybugs.