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Cuterebriasis Isn't Cute

Cuterebriasis occurs when Cuterbra larvae infest and travel through the body of mammals. Cuterbra are bot flies and they lay their eyes near animal borrows, like rodents or rabbits. Cuterebriasis is commonly seen in cats, but it can happen in dogs, squirrels, rabbits, horses, and humans. When an animal goes around the rodent borrow or rabbit run the larvae attach, because of this most commonly the Cuterbra is found on the head, neck, and chest. At the end of the larvae stage the Cuterbra larvae will fall out of the host animal and lay dormant for the winter, immerging as an adult fly.

How can you tell if your animal has Cuterebriasis?

Most lesions are found in tissues below the skin. Migration below the skin will appear as a raised red lesion. There will be a small hole for breathing and an opening that will chronically drain. While the larvae travels in the host’s body it can end up in places like the brain, nostrils, or eyelids. If this happens issues related to these areas will appear. In some cases where the larvae infests the brain it has been fatal.

Bot fly larvae infestation on a cat.

What is the treatment? Are there preventative measures?

If you pet has Cuterabriasis the larvae needs to be surgically removed. Prevention for this is done with monthly heartworm medication. Products like Heartgard, protect against parasites with ivermectin.

Hole where the larvae was living in a 6 week old kitten.
The larvae that was removed.

Do I need to worry about this in Louisiana?

Warble Flies are a species of bot flies that live in Louisiana and resembles a bumble bee. These flies cause Cuterebriasis in animal. The time of the year that you most likely see this is July, August, and September. If you happen to see a lesion and suspect it to be Cuterbriasis please bring your animal in for an exam. Never try and extract the larvae on your own.

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