Keep Maggots and Botflies Off Your Pets

Education / Blog / Keep Maggots and Botflies Off Your Pets

Keep Maggots and Botflies Off Your Pets

Have you ever seen a maggot in a rotting piece of trash or outside in your landscaping? They may be more common than you think and can even be fatal to your pets. Summer months when the adults are alive and laying eggs are the most common months for potential cases in the Los Banos area. In fact, a few weeks ago Los Banos Veterinary Clinic experienced a case of a dog infected with botflies and thought it would be a good time to remind everyone of the dangers these cases of maggot and botfly infections can cause.

Maggots oftentimes leave their larva, botflies, in the grass and long landscaping where they will mature and attached themselves to a host. The botfly larva can attach themselves to a host, your pet, for example, when your pet walks by the infected blade of grass. Once the maggot is attached to your pet, they expertly crawl around through the fur until they find an open orifice to enter.

Once they enter the body, they are able embed themselves into the skin or internal tissue and make themselves at home. Pet owners can identify these "maggot homes,” also known as warbles, by a raised lump under the skin.

Are there any symptoms in addition to the raised lump?

The lump signifies that the adult larvae have set up shop in your pet and could be reproducing in the warble. Sometimes additional symptoms are noticeable depending on the region in which the botflies settle. These include respiratory issues (such as coughing or trouble breathing), neurological changes and weird behavior (dizziness, trouble moving or iritic behavior) or sometimes maggots crawling on the skin or out of an infected orifice.

Are there any areas pets should avoid?

Botflies, like many parasites, can be found anywhere and can be present in backyards throughout Los Banos. That’s why it’s important to check your pet often for any unusual bumps or cuts. Maggots usually lay their botfly larvae, however, in grassy areas, such as in the woods, the grass by ponds, in dense landscaping or in parks. Be sure to give your pet a sweep and check for parasites in the fur after spending time outdoors in these types of locations.

How are Botflies infestations diagnosed?

This depends on the symptoms that your pet displays. The most common giveaway is the warble, which your vet will sweep your dog for if he or she thinks that a botfly infection is a possibility. If you come in telling of respiratory issues, your vet will consider possible respiratory issues and perhaps take an X-Ray of the chest. If your pet is displaying neurological or behavioral changes, analysis of the head and nerves will be conducted.

When left untreated, botflies and maggots can wreak havoc on your pet and even become potentially fatal. Botflies become toxic to pets quickly, so need to be treated immediately. If you think that your pet could have been exposed or if you find a warble under the skin, please call Los Banos Veterinary Clinic today. 

Posted Tuesday, August 12, 2014