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Viral Photo: Beetles in Dog’s Mouth

Viral Photo: Beetles in Dog’s Mouth
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A photo heavily circulating online shows beetles attached to the roof of a dog’s mouth. A warning is included to check your dog’s mouth for similar infestation.

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Beetles in Dog’s Mouth

A popular Facebook post amassed over 160,000 shares in its first two days. It includes a photo of a dog’s mouth with several insects attached to top, along with a warning which states:

SOMEBODY ASKED ME TO PASS THIS ALONG …. Japanese Beetles and Lady Bugs can attach to the roof of your dog’s mouth, and make him/HER become ill. Symptoms include excessive drooling. Check your dog’s mouth and remove any insects. #thatsnasty

beetles in dog's mouth

It does appear that Asian Beetles (also known as Asian Lady Beetles) can be embedded in the roof of a dog’s as described above, although the occurrence appears to be quite rare, and it does not seem to occur with common Lady Bugs.

A Facebook page under the name of Hands & Paws sought to reassure worried pet owners about a potential invasion of Asian Beetles.

Asian Beetles (some people call them Japanese Beetles as well) can embed themselves like this in the roof of your dog’s mouth if ingested by dog. Be aware of what your dog is randomly eating while outside. These beetles (which look a lot like lady bugs) can be on sticks, leaves, etc. Symptoms are constant drooling for no apparent reason, and sudden horrid breath.
Insects were removed and this pup is doing fine!

A 2008 PubMed citation also discusses a situation similar to that described above.

A six-year old mixed-breed dog presented with severe trauma to the oral mucosa suggestive of chemical burn. Sixteen Harmonia axyridis (Coccinellidae) were removed from the oral cavity, which revealed trauma consistent with chemical burn. The beetles had become embedded in mucosa covering the hard palate and required manual removal. A diagnosis of beetle induced chemical burn was warranted and consistent with the nature of the chemical constituents of H. axyridis hemolymph.

Bottom Line

Although the photo above appears to be real, and there have been other cases which closely match what is depicted in the photo, the occurrence of such incidents appears to be quite rare. The warning appears to be accurate regarding Asian Beetles, but not Lady Bugs as one popular caption describes.

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