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Quick Tip - Protect your pet against Fly Strike (Myiasis)

Maggot infestation should be treated as an emergency

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Fly larvae (maggots) - photo credit: Dalius Baranauskas Wikipedia Creative Commons

Fly larvae (maggots) that cause "fly strike" in animals

Photo credit: Dalius Baranauskas Wikipedia Creative Commons
Mid to late summer is the most common time of year to see Fly Strike or Myiasis. This unpleasant problem is caused when flies lay their eggs on diseased tissue or drainage of living animals and maggots are born. Maggots are the larve (immature form) of flies.

How could this happen? Most often, it is seen on animals who have diarrhea. Open wounds, skin infections, urine, eye drainage, or other excretions also attract flies and encourage maggot growth. The time frame for this problem to manifest is amazingly short -- in 8 to 12 hours after a fly lays the eggs. This condition can also be fatal in some animals. Time is of the essence to rid the tissue of maggots and treat the inciting cause.

Here are some quick tips to monitor for fly strike and prevent this condition from happening in your pet:

  • Bathe and groom your pet on a regular basis. Matted hair can lead to underlying skin problems and the moist dermatitis will attract flies
  • Treat obvious conditions such as diarrhea immediately, and keep pet indoors, away from flies, while ill
  • Overweight and incontinent animals are especially at risk. Keep the pet's skin (and folds of skin) dry and clean as possible
  • If flies are a problem in your area, speak to your veterinarian about a pet-safe fly control to keep flies off of your pet

If you suspect that your pet has a maggot infestation (myiasis), please seek veterinary attention immediately. This problem is often one where there is "more than meets the eye" and can be quite painful to fully cleanse if the maggots are deep inside the tissues. Without treatment (physical removal of maggots and cleansing of the skin or infected area), the maggots will start to eat healthy tissue, causing fluid and protein loss, inflammation, and in some cases; death to the host animal.

Related Reading & Photos:
"Fly-Strike" -- A Disgusting And Unpleasant Topic
Copyright © 2001 Linda Dowdy
Fly Strike in Rabbits
From Rabbit Haven
Opportunistic Parasites - What is a Cuterebra Parasite?
From Your Guide

Speak up: Do you have a summertime pet safety tip?

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