Cuterebra or ‘warbles’ in dogs, commonly known as botflies, are small flies that enter dogs’ bodies in their larval stage through different openings like eyes, nose, or any other orifice. After entering the dog’s body, this larva embeds in the skin, central nervous system, or respiratory tract and spends their larval stages there.
These flies are mostly found in tropical regions like North America, Canada, and Mexico. Botfly on dog mostly occurs in late summer or early fall as the adult botflies are very active at this time.
Causes of Botfly on Dog
Cuterebra or warbles in dogs is caused by a group of Cuterebra, which has approximately 34 species. Botfly is a painful condition for the dog as long as it stays there.
The adult botfly deposits its larva onto the grass blades. This larva then finds a suitable host, mostly rabbits or other rodents. Dogs get botflies accidentally while chasing the small animals near their burrows. The larva present on the grass blades then lands on the dog’s skin and finds an opening to enter the dog’s body.
The larva then finds a spot and forms a lump in the skin. The botfly larva leaves the dog’s body when its larval stage is over, leaving a hole in the skin. The pupa then lands on the soil and completes the rest of the life cycle there.
Botfly Symptoms in Dogs
The symptoms of botfly bite on dogs depend on the type of botfly infestation in dogs, whether in the dog’s skin, respiratory tract, eyes, or nervous system.
Symptoms of Botfly in Skin
Botfly symptoms in dogs’ skin include:
- Swelling around the face or neck
- Reduced appetite
Sometimes, bot worms in dogs cause disseminated intravascular coagulopathy (DIC) in severe conditions. This condition disrupts blood supply to different body organs by forming blood clots.
Symptoms of Botfly in the Respiratory Tract
The respiratory tract infestation shows the following symptoms:
- Excessive sneezing
- Nasal Discharge
- Difficulty in breathing
Symptoms of Botfly Infestation in Eyes
- Pink eye(conjunctivitis)
- Eyes discharge
- Inflammation in the eyes and around the eye
Symptoms of Botfly Infestation in the Nervous System
- Abnormal behavior
Prognosis of a Botfly on Dog
The prognosis of botfly on dog depends on the Cuterebra infestation. If only a few botflies, then it may cause discomfort. When the larva migrates from one tissue to another in the dog’s body it creates enough discomfort to the dog. If the botfly in dog skin develops around a sensitive nerve, then it can cause much pain to the dog.
Diagnosis of Botfly Infestation
The vet takes the various test to diagnose the botfly in dogs. He may look for certain symptoms in the throat, eyes, respiratory tract, or skin. The vet uses general anesthesia to examine the throat. The vet will look for swelling on one side of the face or the throat, which indicates Cuterebra infestation in dogs.
Treatment of Botfly on Dog
Botfly removal from a dog’s skin depends on the stage of infestation. If you discover the infestation when the larva is on the dog’s skin, it can be removed manually. After removing the botfly, certain antibiotics are applied to avoid secondary infections in the wound.
In some cases, Cuterebra lava has to be removed surgically by the vet, and the affected tissues are debrided.
But if the larva has already jumped off the dog’s skin leaving behind a hole in the dog’s skin, you can apply antibiotics to the wound and let it heal.
Recovery of Botfly on Dog
After removing the botfly, you should continuously monitor the wound as it may develop certain secondary infections if left untreated.
You should report to your vet if you notice inflammation, delayed healing, or discharge from the wound.
Prevention of Botfly on Dog
You can prevent a bot fly on dog by keeping your dog away from rabbits and other rodents. There are more chances of getting a Cuterebra larva in warmer weather as the Cuterebra lays eggs in the summer.
If you live in North America or other tropical regions, your dog has a higher chance of getting a botfly. The only thing you can do is check your dog daily at night for any lumps in the skin. If the botfly on dog is discovered earlier, then it is less problematic.
How to Prevent Botflies In Dogs?
You can prevent a botfly on dog by keeping your dog away from rabbit burrows and stopping them from hunting small rodents. If you live in North America or other tropical regions, your dog has a higher chance of getting a botfly. The only thing you can do is check your dog daily at night for any lumps in the skin.
How Do You Know If Your Dog Has A Botfly?
You should look for any symptoms of botfly on the dog’s skin like:
- Swelling around the face or neck
- Reduced appetite
What Happens If You Don’t Remove A Botfly From A Dog?
If you don’t remove the botfly on dog, it can leave the dog’s skin on its own when the larval stage is over. But this may be very painful for your dog as the Cuterebra larva has spines on its body, and when it moves in the body tissues, it causes much pain and discomfort.
How Do Dogs Get Warbles?
Dogs get warbles near the rabbit burrows or other rodents. The Cuterebra larva is present in the blades of grass, looking for a perfect host. When the dog passes by the grass blades, the lava lands on the dog’s skin and enters the body through any opening.