Verify: Can ladybug-like beetles really get stuck in your dog's mouth?

A post on Facebook appears to show several bugs embedded in a dog's mouth. Concerned dog mom Sharon Talley from Brandy Station, Virginia came across the warning and want us to verify.

QUESTION:

Can beetles get stuck in your dog’s mouth?

ANSWER:

Yes, experts say it is possible.

SOURCES:

Hoisington Veterinary Hospital, Smithsonian Institute Entomology Public Information Officer, Toxicon Volume 52, Issue 2.

PROCESS:

A photo on Facebook appears to show several bugs embedded in a dog's mouth. Concerned dog mom Sharon Talley from Brandy Station, Virginia came across the warning and want WUSA9 to verify whether it is real.

Our Verify squad was able to trace the original photo back to 2008 when a case was documented in the science journal Toxicon.

But there are more recent reported cases. In October 2016, Hoisington Veterinary Hospital in Kansas posted a similar photo saying it was the second dog they'd seen that day with the same problem. To make sure those photos were real, we tracked down Dr. Lindsay Mitchell, who treated that dog.

"I looked in Bailey's mouth and found 30 to 40 of those Asian beetles stuck to the roof of his mouth. Apparently, when the Asian beetles become threatened they secrete this sticky, caustic material that literally causes them to be stuck wherever they are,” Dr. Mitchell said.

With two confirmed cases, WUSA9 researchers contacted a local entomologist from the Smithsonian Institute. Gary Hevel backed up the veterinarian about how Asian Lady Beetles work. 

“They are a nuisance when the hibernation place is a house or other manmade dwelling. They are common in the Eastern United States, and westward to Texas and Missouri," Hevel said. "The dog apparently found a cluster of the beetles and tried to eat them. Exactly why they are 'stuck' is a good question. Many species of lady beetles have a defense of secreting irritating chemicals from their knee joints when bothered. I believe that this particular incident is unusual and doubt that this happens often,” Hevel said.

So even though the photos and this incident are real, our experts said this type of thing is uncommon and not a big reason to worry.

But if your pooch happens to eat a cluster of these beetles, Dr. Mitchell said you can put some gloves on and remove them yourself.

To learn more about how these critters can make their way indoors, click here.

Help VERIFY

Help our journalists VERIFY the news. Do you know someone else we should interview for this story? Did we miss anything in our reporting? Is there another story you'd like us to VERIFY? Click here.

 

© 2017 WUSA-TV


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment