No, It’s Not a Hoax: The Photo of Dozens of Ladybugs in a Dog’s Mouth is Real

Facebook/Hoisington Veterinary Hospital

A veterinarian posted a photo of a dog with a mouthful of ladybugs to warn owners of this problem. It has been shared thousands of times, with people wondering if it is a hoax. Sadly, it is a reality.

Veterinarian Lindsay Mitchell of Hoisington, Kansas took to Facebook on Oct. 17, to post an image of a dog with ladybugs on the roof of the pup’s mouth, urging people to be aware of certain warning signs.

“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,” Mitchell wrote on the Hoisington Veterinary Hospital Facebook page. To date, it has been shared more than 54,000 times.

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The type of ladybugs in this dog’s mouth are Asian lady beetles, an insect that is taking over Barton County – where Hoisington is located. The beetles have come to this area after a huge increase of sugarcane aphids, a food source for the Asian lady beetles.

Fortunately, Mitchell, and others have noted, finding ladybugs in the mouth of your dog is rare – and isn’t a common occurrence in locations around the U.S.

The dog in the picture is named Bailey. His owner, Frances Jiriks, told KAKE in Wichita that he had tried to eat the bugs and that the “night before last when he came in to eat, he didn’t eat,” she told the station. “He was just lethargic and foaming at the mouth.”

If your dog is foaming, tired or shows other unusual signs, Mitchell says to check his or her mouth and save yourself a visit to the vet.

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“[I]f they check their pet’s mouth, and if they find the beetles, they can simply remove them with their finger or a tongue depressor, Mitchell told the Great Bend Tribune newspaper. “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.”

After a similar picture made the rounds last year and caused a scare, the

American Veterinary Medical Association reposted the photo on its own Facebook page with the message: “This is going around on Facebook and causing a bit of panic,” the vet group wrote, “so here’s the real scoop: there are invasive Asian ladybugs that can cause problems, but our ‘regular’ ladybugs DO NOT.”

Adding, “And we’ll say this again, if you have ANY questions or concerns about your pet’s health, your veterinarian is your best source of information.”

Related: Meet the Only Bee-Saving Dog in the U.S.

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