can a botfly kill a cat

Prompt veterinary care is important in the management of botfly infestations in cats. With appropriate supportive care and treatment, most cats can recover from botfly infestations within 14-24 days. However, without treatment, botfly infestations can lead to serious complications and even death.

Causes of Botflies in Cats

Outdoor areas where rodents or rabbits make their homes are typically the places where exposure to botfly eggs or larvae occurs. In order for the parasite to infest its host, physical contact is necessary. When cats come into contact with the eggs or larvae in these areas, grass, leaves, or other surfaces carry the infection into their fur. Cats have the ability to carry the larvae inside the house, where they can infect other cats or household pets. The larvae’s movement within your pet’s body systems and the impact it has on surrounding tissues as it grows are what cause the symptoms.

Diagnosis of Botflies in Cats

When cuterebrosis is identified, a physical examination usually suffices, indicating that the parasite has progressed to the point where it has become embedded under the skin. The vet will find the warble or cyst on your cat’s skin and assess it for the presence of a larval infection. Prepare a brief history of your pet’s illnesses and let the vet know if your cat spends any time outside. If the parasite is in the eye, diagnosing it with observation is also quite easy. To be sure that the botfly is the source of the illness and not some other bacterial or parasitic infection, testing might be required. Analysis of blood, urine, and discharged fluid is necessary in order to test for Cuterebra larvae. Verifying the diagnosis can be aided by detecting toxins produced by parasites in bodily fluids. Cerebrospinal fluid testing might also be required, particularly in cases where neurological symptoms are evident. Veterinary personnel may also find it easier to identify Cuterebra in the central nervous system with the use of imaging technologies like an MRI or CT scan.

Treatment of Botflies in Cats

The course of treatment will change based on the location of the parasite, the severity of your pet’s symptoms, and Medical intervention is necessary and typically beneficial, particularly in cases of early detection of cuterebrosis. Even in cases where the warble or larvae are visible, never try to treat your cat at home. There’s a significant chance that the cyst or larvae will burst, infecting your pet or entering their bloodstream with toxins. After treatment, the prognosis is favorable when found close to the skin. Treatment for larvae in the nervous system or eyes is more challenging. Treatment options your veterinarian might use include:

  • Extraction: The veterinarian will remove the larvae if they have taken up residence beneath the skin. Since this is not a surgical procedure, your pet won’t require anesthesia. After numbing the area with a local anesthetic, an incision is made to remove the larvae. To avoid issues related to rupturing or leaving behind some larvae, your veterinarian will take care to remove the parasite whole.
  • Surgery: To remove the larvae if they are difficult to reach, a surgical procedure might be necessary. Compared to extraction, surgery carries a greater risk of adverse effects for your pet. In addition to being put under anesthesia, your pet will need intravenous fluids and might require a longer recovery period.
  • Antiparasitic: This class of drug is intended to eradicate parasites from all over your pet’s body. It can be used alone or in combination with surgical or extraction techniques. When removal is not an option, it is frequently used to treat botfly parasites in the nervous, respiratory, and other systems.
  • Corticosteroids: These drugs are used to reduce immunological responses and help manage inflammation. While corticosteroids are useful in treating respiratory and neurological symptoms, they are ineffective in eliminating or degrading parasites.
  • Antibiotics: If an infection is found at the larval site or in other body parts the parasite traveled through, this kind of medication will be given. Antibiotics are only necessary if bacteria are present.


What do Botflies do to cats?

Symptoms of the botfly larvae parasite can vary depending on the location of the larvae within the cat’s body. Cutaneous or skin symptoms are the most common form, although the parasite can affect the central nervous system, respiratory system, and the eyes.

What happens if a botfly is not removed?

However, if any part of the larva remains inside the body, inflammation and foreign-body reaction will occur, along with a possible secondary bacterial infection. Appropriate oral antibiotics are indicated if a bacterial infection is present.

Do botfly holes heal?

Even after the larva exits the warble, other myiasis-causing flies rarely exploit the empty wound which normally heals very rapidly. Bot fly maggots cannot complete their development in a dead host.

Can you remove a botfly from a cat at home?

You should NEVER treat at home or remove the larva from the skin by yourself. If you rupture the larva, you can introduce toxins into the cat’s bloodstream. You increase the risk of infection. You may not remove the entire insect from the warble.