How to Treat Botflies in Cats
Most often, cats get infected with botflies by accidentally ingesting the larvae of the Cuterebra bug. This parasitic fly is often encountered during hunting of rabbits or rodents. Cats may encounter botfly larvae at the entrance of a rodent’s burrow. Cats typically develop warbles around their neck and head. A vet can prescribe antibiotics for the infection.
If a cat becomes infected with bot flies, the larvae can travel to other parts of the body. Once in the brain, bot fly larvae can cause dizziness, head tilting, confusion, blindness, and paralysis. A cat may also experience lack of appetite and respiratory symptoms. The symptoms will vary from cat to cat. The treatment will depend on the location and number of larvae. If the infestation is accompanied by a rash or other skin irritation, a vet will recommend topical medications.
If you suspect your cat is suffering from botfly infestation, it is imperative to seek treatment as soon as possible. Botflies are highly contagious, and removing the larvae can prove to be a very difficult task. It’s best to keep your cat indoors until the larvae have developed. The infestation may also be accompanied by a lump under the skin, which is referred to as a warble.
An infestation of Cuterebra is painful and uncomfortable for both the owner and the animal. If your cat is infected with botflies, seek immediate treatment as these tiny critters can cause life-threatening conditions in cats. The lesions usually occur on the trunk, neck, and head. Cats may experience a purulent discharge from the area where the larvae have burrowed. If your cat’s head is infected, do not attempt to remove the larvae yourself.
Some veterinarians suggest using an anti-parasitic medication to eradicate the problem. This medication is effective in killing the parasite, but surgery has its drawbacks. Medications often contain anesthesia, which may cause complications, and the recovery time may be longer than normal. Other procedures, such as parasitic medications, are less invasive. Typically, a local anesthetic is used. The parasites are then removed from the body of the cat.
If your cat suffers from botflies, the most effective treatment is a visit to the veterinarian. While bot flies are usually harmless, the larvae carry germs that can increase the chances of a serious infection. Your vet may prescribe a topical antibiotic or anti-parasitic med to treat the infection. If the bot fly larvae are larger than usual, you may also have to treat the wound with a special medicine called scabies. If the larvae have buried themselves beneath the cat’s skin, this could be a sign of cuterebra. Cuterebra are larger than bot flies and pose a greater threat to your cat.
When you notice warbles underneath your cat’s skin, it is likely your cat has contracted botflies. In many cases, these larvae migrate to your cat’s body through the eyes, nose, and mouth. Once they enter the cat, they will begin to crawl through it, leaving a small hole for the larva to breathe through. Symptoms include respiratory signs, neurological problems, and opthalmic (eye) lesions. Your veterinarian may prescribe antibiotics for your cat. If you have symptoms, consult a vet immediately.
Medications to treat botflies in cats can include ivermectin, a broad-spectrum dewormer, or a combination of both. Your veterinarian may also recommend a broad-spectrum dewormer to prevent recurrence of the problem. Your veterinarian will prescribe an appropriate treatment depending on your cat’s overall health. The treatment will depend on several factors, including the number of warbles and the location of the warbles.
A 5-year-old male domestic shorthair cat presented with respiratory problems and acute gagging. After an endoscopy, a Cuterebra larva was identified. The infection resulted in a diagnosis of feline ischemic encephalopathy, where damage to the middle cerebral artery causes seizures, aggression, and even blindness in one eye. These symptoms can lead to a serious condition called feline ischemia, which can result in irreversible neurological damage to your cat.
After feeding on a cat’s food, the larvae of botflies will migrate to tissues beneath the skin, where they will pupate. They can live from seven to eleven months or even up to 28 days, depending on the species and environmental temperature. Adult Cuterebra flies will generally mate within a couple of days after emerging and rarely live longer than two weeks. Once a cat gets infected with a botfly infestation, the problem can be extremely difficult to treat.