The picture shows a bunch of ladybugs stuck in the roof of a dog’s mouth. The Facebook post has been shared more than 30,000 times – freaking out dog owners everywhere.
This certainly caught the attention of the American Veterinary Medical Association and to make matters clear, they posted this:
“This is going around on Facebook and causing a bit of panic, so here’s the real scoop: there are invasive Asian ladybugs that can cause problems, but our “regular” ladybugs DO NOT. So there’s no need to panic and pry open your dog’s mouth to look for zombie ladybugs.
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!
Veterinarians, here’s the abstract of a report about the problems caused by the invasive bugs: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/18582484/”
While the photo looks real, the insects seen in it aren’t your regular ladybugs — they’re a called Asian lady beetles.
Science has confirmed only one case of Asian lady beetles camping out in a dog’s mouth.
According to a 2008 article in the journal Toxicon:
“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.”
This means that if a dog manages to get some of these “zombie ladybugs” in his mouth, it does make sense that the beetle would fire up its chemical defense system –releasing a toxic, sticky substance that actually hardens on contact with air.
This suggests that a bunch of lady beetles encased in their own fluids inside a dog’s mouth seems possible.
According to science, this incident seems to have happened once about a decade ago.
Source: The Dodo