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By July 24, 2013 Uncategorized

Our Sudbury Vets Discuss Cuterebra Parasites

If you know what a Cuterebra is, then when reading the title of this article you may have made a face of disgust. If you are fortunate enough to not have been formally introduced to this little critter, our Sudbury Vets ask you to please read more and find out how they can negatively affect your furry family member.

Imagine you are petting your dog or cat and feel a bump.  Now you put your detective hat on and inspect further to discover a small hole in your pet’s skin. OMG!!! As you continue to look you jump in surprise as a small maggot like creature pokes its body in and out of your furry friend as it breathes. Gross!! No, you are not in an episode of the twilight zone, your pet has most likely acquired a cuterebra!!

So how does your furry friend acquire one of these parasites, and where do they come from?  Our Sudbury Vets at the Barrydowne Animal Hospital say that a Cuterebra is commonly known as a botfly. What we see in our pet is the larva stage of this fly.  Little botfly babies love to make a cozy home inside your four legged family member.  These are definitely not the kind of visitors you want to have around!!  The fly will deposit eggs on stone or vegetation at the entrance of a burrow or nest of a rabbit or other small rodent. So, when your dog or cat goes hunting or investigating and start sniffing around these areas, the eggs enter their body through inhalation/ingestion (grooming) or skin penetration.  An innocent jaunt in the woods can end up becoming a real life nightmare as your furry friend may bring home more than just dirt. These eggs migrate into the tissue and further develop into the larva form. Our Sudbury Vets state that they will commonly be found on the neck, head or trunk of the animal. As this larva maturation occurs, a “pore” or breathing hole will be created and visible on the pet’s skin. This process causes inflammation, death of the surrounding tissue, and can be accompanied by a bacterial infection.

If left unnoticed, this bot fly abyss will enlarge even more when the larva has fully matured and is ready to leave your dog/cat. Your furry friend becomes a living incubator for this grisly little critter.  It will then fall into the soil and grow into a pupa, the next stage of development, and eventually into the bot fly. From there it will mate and the female will be ready to lay eggs, starting the whole ghastly process over again.

This empty hole or cyst will become infected, abscess and will need to be flushed/debrided and antibiotics prescribed. Our Sudbury Vets do warn pet parents to NOT try to remove the larva yourself as it can cause serious harm to your furry friend.  If the larva is ruptured, it can release foreign material that may prevent healing.  You definitely do not want to be reminded of the alien invader that decided to take up residency within your furry BFF!! If the cuterebra is found before the larva has left your pet, then it will be surgically removed, the tissue will be debrided, and antibiotics will be prescribed by Our Sudbury Vets.  The sooner it is discovered the better for both your piece of mind and your pet’s health, as the longer it is left to dwell within your furry family member the more damage it will do to surrounding tissue.  If you think your four legged friend has picked up a cuterebra, don’t panic, contact Our Sudbury Vets to ensure that the proper treatment is provided to remove this frightening little critter.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Our Sudbury Vets at the Barrydowne Animal Hospital at 705-566-4243 or visit our website at or our Facebook page at



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