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Wolf Worms/Bot fly/Blow Fly Larvae
A few weeks ago my cat came down with something that we were sure was going to take her life, but there was no money for a vet bill, and we had no idea what was making her so sick. Usually an energetic ball of fun, my 8 month old kitten was dying. We were considering taking her to the pound, or even putting her down. She was sleeping all the time, not eating, not playing, and not even making any noise. When she started craving gentle attention, we knew her time was getting close. My husband was comforting her one evening when he found a large growth of some sort on her neck. It had a hard scabby type bump in the middle. I felt it and immediately thought "tumor." When we pulled the fur back around the scab, I saw something so small that looked like a screw. Maybe she rolled over a screw and it stuck in her neck causing an infection? My husband pulled it out revealing a blow fly larvae, also known as a wolf worm or a bot fly larvae. My mother saw it and immediately knew it was a wolf worm. I did some research...
Have you ever watched those "I Survived" type shows on TV? You know the ones where some college kid goes to visit the Amazon and comes back with this nasty zit on his back the size of a softball. When he goes to the family physician (because this kind of thing would never lead me to think I needed hospitalization) they find a huge nasty worm in a tiny hole under his skin. Well, this is a blow fly larvae. In the amazon, these can be deadly to large animals, including humans. However, here in the States, they are a bit smaller. In my research I found that they come in all different shapes and sizes. First, I want to tell you that I am in no way a veterinarian so I am simply sharing what I learned and I have NO medical advice for any of you or for your pets.
Blow flies are commonly found on rabbits, dogs, and cats. Rabbits are usually the main host, but the curiosity of the cat, and the speed and agility of the jack russel can cause them to catch more than just a rabbit. When a cat tries looking down a rabbit hole the eggs from the rabbit fur hatch easily on a cat's neck or head, and immediately attach to their new host. When dogs chase a rabbit and start digging in the rabbit hole, the egg has found a new home for the larvae on the dog's legs and feet. Almost ALL of the research said "TAKE THE ANIMAL DIRECTLY TO THE VET TO HAVE THE LARVAE REMOVED. DO NOT TRY TO REMOVE IT ON YOUR OWN, FOR YOU COULD CAUSE ILLNESS AND EVEN DEATH." Yeah, I took this to heart since my husband accidentally removed it already. However, I found a blog from some guy that raises and trains farm dogs. His family dog obtained a little larvae on his leg. The vet came and squeezed the growth until the little booger poked his head out. The vet then removed it with his fingers. He didn't want to use tweezers because if the larvae was ruptured, a poison from the worm could be released and the dog would go into anaphalactic shock (this is why they say not to do it on your own). This certain blog had tons of comments. Many had remedies that I researched and found proven. One lady said drop Visine in the teenie hole. The worm will die. The problem I had with this is, How do you get the larvae out after it has died in the hole? Another lady blogged that she puts a glob of vaselline on the hole forcing the worm out for air and giving you the opportunity to pinch him out. My problem with this...ew! So I think that if my pets should have this problem again, we will be taking a trip to the vet, but worst case scenario when I don't have the funds for a vet, I will do both. I would like to think that if I put vaselline on the wound to force him out, then drop visine on him that it will kill him while he is sticking out. Yeah, a long shot I know. This is why the vet will always be the first choice. I would much rather have the life of my pet in the hands of a licensed professional than just me who read some blogs and research...