Monday, September 6, 2010

Macro Monday: He followed me home, can I keep him?

Warning: Blue Willies Alert. Do not view photos if you are prone to the crawlies. Do not embiggen unless you have a strong interest in entomology or stand to win something on a bar bet.

Thursday night I noticed that Cole had a nasty reddened lump on his right rear leg, medial.

Not surprising for the Pennsylvania Summer of Sauna; everyone has stings, spider bites, dings, nicks and rashes. Pip is in the cone of shame because she won't leave a thing on her front foot alone (I'd assumed a spider bite, but perhaps not, as we shall see.) Rosie has what appears to be two stings on her side, and I got nailed on the ear a couple weeks ago (no ambulance ride this time).

I checked it again Friday morning. That's when I saw the hole. The breathing hole.

Oh shit. Warble. Bot fly larva. Cuterebra. Feckin' alien living in my dog. Gaaaah!

I was vaguely aware that dogs could get these, but they are rare -- much more common in cats, horses, and cattle. I'd never even heard anyone tell of a dog having one.

Ticka ticka ticka -- ask teh interwebz -- and I found enough references to things like anaphylaxis and toxicity and "kill your dog" and was getting skeeved out enough that it was off to the vet.

So naturally, I'm in the exam room waiting for the Doc, and I've got to get a picture of this, right?

Then, a little squeeze, well back at the base of the lump, see if I can make the hole easier to see in the photo, and look at that, it's the little bastard's snorkel.

Squeezed a little more, and he came out and performed an interpretive dance for us. I named him Ivan.

One more gentle squeeze, and he was liberated from his co-dependent relationship with Cole's leg.

Dr. Strobel assured me that most of them come out easily like this, though it's nasty when they don't. He flushed the hole with some amoxicillin and sent some more home for the next couple days. Now I'll know what to do if this happens again. Just before I curl up in a fetal position under a boiling shower.

If Cole would like a pet of his own, I will get him a kitten. Or he can keep that toad that insists on hopping into the kitchen at night.

We left Ivan with the vet, who assured us that he could manage the rehoming.


  1. Years ago, my boyfriend found a kitten that had a botfly larva like that in its neck!

    It skeeved me out then, and still does now.

    The kitten went on to be fine, and I hope your dog will too! :)

  2. I hope the adoption fee covers all the necessary things Ivan needs done before he goes home!

    Now you can say that you've had a similar experience to those people on teh YooToobs who post videos of themselves pulling multiple inhabitants from their cozy habitats.

    Still a bit gross, though.

  3. Gross.

    My horses got a few bots through the years, as hard as I tried to keep them off.

    I've never seen them on dogs or cats though.

  4. Eeeewwwwww ... ok. I've got the creepy crawlies now. I'm going home to go check my dogs. :)

  5. GAK!!

    Thought maybe Ivan would have a single little dancing shoe but didn't see it ...

  6. never seen one on a dog yet, but see them all summer long on cats and (mostly) kittens. Record bot fly this year:
    the size of the first digit of your thumb, in the throat of an 8week old kitten. Kitten's new name? Major Bot

  7. Aw shit, Glenye, you know how men leave their shoes lying around.

    Now I have to go in after it, or Cole is stuck with it.

  8. Wonder if it has taps on it? Might make it easier to find. Aw, a tap-dancing Ivan! his repertoire would be limited, but that's almost cute!

    Except that he's still a freaking scary thing to see coming out of your dog.

  9. Thanks for the lesson, graphic as it is.
    I learned about the bot larvae a few years ago when the local tree rats began hosting them.
    Did not realize dogs could host them, also.


  10. Gross enough to be riveting, but didn't give me nightmares. Way to walk the line!

  11. Luce had one once. It was just a little tyke.

    Mostly I've seen them in cats. We took an absolutely enormous one out of a kitten once at work. Gross.

  12. How'd he get a bot fly? I didn't even realize they existed in this country.

    I actually brought home a bot fly larvae from a trip to Belize with my wife last December. That was the grossist thing ever pulling that sucker out of myself....ick.

  13. Brent, the good news for you is he didn't pick it up on our trip to Montana, as I thought he might have.

    The bad news for me is they are definitely here on the farm.

    Another one in his @%$! foot, which is going very badly. (All signs indicate that Viktor, brother of Ivan, died inside Cole's foot. I am flushing and treating him with antibiotics for this nasty wound. He is a paragon; the squeezing and such is very painful, and he's taking it like a trooper.)

    And one on Sophia's abdomen; Sophie didn't come on this trip with us, so she got it here. That one was much bigger, and popped out very easily because it was over a squishy part. I noticed it when Sophie walked past me in the living room and was dripping tiny drops of blood on the floor. I think it was pretty ready to blow on its own. That wound healed immediately. Location, location, location.

    Working hypothesis is that these are the kind of bots who lay eggs at the entrance to rodent dens, and the dogs pick them up when hunting groundhogs.

  14. This came up on the general ES list recently, so I remembered this post and came here. Did Pip's injury ever heal up? I assume so, but ...

  15. Rob -- if you are referencing the maybe spider bite I mention in this post, it has mostly healed, leaving a scar, but took forever and there's still a stain on her leg where she wouldn't leave it be.

    So I think it was a spider bite, and a bad one, as that slow healing can be a feature of arachnid venom.

    Also very slow to heal was the Viktor mess between Cole's toes. I treated that with cleaning and flushing approximately forever. It was in a terrible place. I think Viktor may have had a conjoined twin in there, too.

  16. Bot flies. We'd get infestations in our (kenneled) meat rabbits. I found a trick that got them - Visine. Drop Visine in the hole and the bot larvae dies. Wait a bit and then pop them out.

    Totally creepy critters.


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