How to Deal With a Botfly Infestation In Your Cat?


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Contrary to popular belief that botflies infest rabbits and rodents, it has come to notice that botflies can latch on to felines if they get a chance. You are stroking your feline friend, and suddenly you feel a lump. On parting the fur, you see a small hole in the skin with something moving in it. Such a situation is bound to evoke disgust, but you need to consider a botfly infestation. A clear understanding of such infestation will help you get deeper into the matter.

What are bot flies?

Botflies, also called cuterebra, is commonly found in most parts of North America, particularly in the northeastern region, which is called the hub spot of botflies. These large, frizzy flies look like bees, and they lay eggs near the entry point on their host animal's body. Once the eggs hatch, larvae emerge in the presence of a potential host nearby, such as cats. The larvae latch on to the cat's fur and gains entry into its body through any opening like the mouth, nose or anus, and finally burrow into the skin.

Symptoms of botfly infestation

The symptoms of botfly infestation vary depending on the larvae' location in the cat's body. Although skin symptoms are common, botflies can have a virulent affect on the central nervous and respiratory system, and eyes. The symptoms are as follows:

Respiratory symptoms:
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Breathlessness
Neurological symptoms:
  • Paralysis
  • Circling
  • Dizziness
Eye symptoms:
  • Blindness
  • Lesions
Skin Symptoms:
  • Sores and lumps
  • Excessive grooming of infested region
Diagnosis and treatment

A veterinarian usually examines the respiratory, neurological, eye and skin symptoms of your cat and draws a conclusion. Warbles under the skin are the clearest signs that your cat has been infested by botflies. However, there is nothing much to worry because a number of treatment options are available, which are as follows:

  • SurgeryA surgical procedure may be employed to remove the larvae from the cat's body. Although helpful, the process may subject your cat to side effects, anesthesia, and intravenous fluids. It also entails a longer recovery time.
  • Anti-parasitic medicationsThese medications are used to kill the parasites within your cat's body, particularly in the nervous, respiratory, and other vital organ systems where surgical removal is not possible.
  • ExtractionConsidered less risky than surgeries, extraction of the larvae does not require the cat to undergo painful procedures. Local anesthesia is used to numb the infested area, and the larva is removed by making an incision.
  • CorticosteroidsCorticosteroid medications suppress immune reactions and controls inflammation. Although not that effective in removing the larva, these medications can treat nervous and respiratory symptoms.
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