Botflies Average Cost

From 528 quotes ranging from $200 - 1,000

Average Cost

$600

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What are Botflies?

Cats are usually an accidental host that picks up the botfly larvae when exploring near rabbit or rodent dens. Cats that spend a great deal of time outdoors are at a greater risk, and infestation occurs most frequently in the summer. The larvae can be found most commonly under the skin, but can also make their way to the eyes, respiratory system, or central nervous systems where symptoms can become severe and result in death if not treated quickly.

Botflies are a species of non-biting flies found throughout most of North America. The species is especially active in the warmer months of late spring and summer, but can be found for a longer period in warmer climates. The botfly, or Cuterebra, life cycle involves a parasitic larval stage that requires a host animal, usually a rabbit or rodent. The adult fly lays its eggs on surfaces, like grasses and rocks, in and around the living areas of rabbits and rodents. The eggs or young larvae transition to the host animal by transferring onto its fur when it walks past. They then make their way into the host through an opening or orifice. 

Symptoms of Botflies in 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. Nervous system symptoms often begin with nasal discharge or sneezing as the larvae enter through these orifices. In certain situations, especially when the central nervous system is affected, the symptoms can be severe and even fatal. 

General Symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Lack of appetite 

Cutaneous or Skin Symptoms:

  • Lesion or draining sore
  • Lump under the skin or “warble”
  • Excessive grooming of specific site

Respiratory Symptoms:

  • Cough
  • Sneezing
  • Gagging
  • Nasal discharge
  • Trouble breathing

Ophthalmomyiasis or Eye Symptoms:

  • Lesions
  • Facial paralysis
  • Blindness

Nervous System Symptoms:

  • Abnormal behavior
  • Head pressing
  • Disorientation 
  • Head tilt
  • Abnormal vocalization
  • Circling
  • Abnormal gait
  • Lack of reflexes
  • Seizures
  • Paralysis

Causes of Botflies in Cats

Exposure to botfly eggs or larvae usually occurs outdoors in areas where rodents or rabbits make their homes. Physical contact is required for the parasite to infest its host. Cats come into contact with the eggs or larvae in these areas, and it is transferred to their fur from grass, leaves, or other surfaces. It is possible for a cat to bring the larvae into the home, infesting other cats or companion animals. Symptoms are caused by the movement of the larvae within your pet’s bodily systems and the effect it has on surrounding tissues as it begins to grow.

Diagnosis of Botflies in Cats

A physical examination is often sufficient for identifying cuterebrosis, in which case the parasite has reached the stage where it has settled under the skin. The veterinarian will locate the cyst or warble on your cat’s skin and evaluate it for larval infection. Be prepared to discuss your pet’s medical history and advise your veterinarian if the cat spends time outdoors. If the parasite is in the eye, it is also fairly simple to diagnose through observation. Testing may be necessary to confirm parasite is from the botfly and not another parasitic or bacterial infection. To test for Cuterebra larva, analysis of blood, urine, and discharged fluid is required. Identifying parasite-produced toxins in bodily fluids will help to confirm the diagnosis. Testing of cerebrospinal fluid may also be necessary, especially if neurological symptoms are present. Imaging technologies, like an MRI or CT scan, may also help veterinary staff to identify Cuterebra in the central nervous system. 

Treatment of Botflies in Cats

Treatments will vary depending on your pet’s symptoms, their severity, and the location of the parasite. Medical treatment is required, and is usually effective, especially if cuterebrosis is caught early. Do not attempt to treat your cat at home, even if the larvae or warble is visible. There is a high risk of rupturing the cyst or larvae and causing an infection or introducing toxins into your pet’s bloodstream. When found near the skin, the prognosis after treatment is good. Larvae in the eyes or nervous system are more difficult to treat. Treatment options your veterinarian might use include:

  • Extraction: If the larvae have made their home under the skin, the veterinarian will extract it. This is not a surgical procedure, so your pet will not need to be put under. A local anesthetic is used to numb the area, and then an incision is made so the larvae can be removed. Your veterinarian will take care to remove the entire parasite intact to prevent complications associated with rupturing or leaving behind a portion of the larvae. 
  • Surgery: If the larvae are not as easy to reach, a surgical procedure may be required to remove it. Surgery puts your pet at a higher risk of side effects than extraction does. Your pet will undergo anesthesia, will require intravenous fluids, and may need a longer recovery time. 
  • Antiparasitic: This type of medication is used to kill parasites throughout your pet’s body. It may be used in conjunction with extraction or surgical methods, but can also be used alone. It is often used to treat botfly parasites that are in the respiratory, nervous, and other systems where removal is not an option. 
  • Corticosteroids: This type of medication is used to suppress immune reactions and aid in keeping inflammation under control. Corticosteroids treat symptoms in the respiratory and nervous system, are not effective for removing or destroying the parasite.
  • Antibiotics: This type of medication will be administered if an infection is present either at the larval site or in other parts of the body the parasite moved through. Antibiotics are only necessary if bacteria are present. 

Recovery of Botflies in Cats

If the cuterebra larvae are successfully removed, the prognosis is generally good. The lesion or wound site where the larva was removed may take some time to heal. Monitor the area for signs of infection and make another appointment to have the wound checked if it seems to be swelling, draining pus, or spreading. Cats that experience eye infestations could lose sight in the affected eye. Your pet will still be able to lead a full life even after losing their vision. For cats suffering from nervous system symptoms, recovery may be less certain. Damage to the brain or other parts of the nervous system could be permanent or even fatal. Treatment should help, but your pet may not make a full recovery. Take care to support your pet during recovery and avoid stressors or making changes to their living environment.

Botflies Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Cheeto & Tigger
Orange tabby
4 Years
Mild condition
1 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Warbles

We have 2 four year old cats that we have raised to be indoor/outdoor cats. Unfortunately they have discovered the many rabbits in the next neighborhood over and have gotten warbles. They are already being treated but I have questions that our get can't really answer for some reason. Is there a parasitic or pesticide that we can give our pets to prevent the larvae from entering or surviving if they do? Also, what is the likelihood of them bringing larvae into our furniture and us humans getting them? We are starting to have hypochondria about it. Thank you.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1408 Recommendations
The fly larvae have to find an open wound to enter, and there isn't any pesticides that you can use to prevent this infestation - you just have to make sure that the cats' skin is healthy and they are free of other parasites. The larvae are not laid on furniture, they are laid on open wounds. If you clean the furniture thoroughly, spray to get rid of the flies, and keep the area clean, the problem should not continue.

Thank you.

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Boise, Blue, Huck
Pit Bull & Human (strange cat breeds, I know)
8 Years
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Larvae
Warbles
Lumps

Medication Used

Ivermectin
Doxycycline

Hi ~
We are vacationing in Mexico & on Tuesday realized our dogs had bot fly infestations. I bathed them with medicinal shampoo until they could get to the vet. Well, the by next day my husband & I also were infested. Last night, our (human) doctor gave us Ivermectin & today all 3 dogs are getting ivermectin injections. My question is this: what now? Do we need to bug bomb our house? The yard? Rewash all the clothing, bedding, furniture...? I want to ensure that 1) we don’t bring it home with us & 2) The next guests in this rental house do not become infected. Any help at all would be greatly appreciated as this has been, by far, the most disturbing thing to ever happen to us!

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2995 Recommendations
Generally the female fly lays eggs on the host (human or animal - but may lay eggs anywhere in the environment), when the conditions are right the larvae emerge and start to burrow into the skin of the host; there may be eggs in the environment but general cleaning and good hygiene is generally enough to keep this at bay. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Napoleon
Himalayan
4 Years
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Open Wound With Pus
Botfly breathing hole
lack of appetite

Found my outdoor cat earlier today with a foul smelling tan liquid around neck. Cleaned around the area. Found a red mark on skin and a botfly breathing hole (which I recognized from having a cat years ago with a botfly infection). Poured liquid down the breathing hole to see if a worm was still there (which is what the vet last time told me to do when they couldn't remove it themselves without surgery). Haven't seen any signs of a worm rising or liquid being pushed back up. So with this information I believe there was a worm had burst from the warble outside (found signs of liquid and blood outside). My question is how much do I need to worry about possible toxins in the bloodstream? I have cut away hair around the wound, cleaned the area around wound, and sprayed him with anti-septic spray for cats. It is currently not producing any more pus. I know signs for infection and will be monitoring him. What signs should I look for possible blood toxin? Currently I am snowed in and cannot leave for a vet so want to do whatever is best in this situation.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1408 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. While it would be best to have Napoleon seen by your veterinarian, if your cat remains bright and happy, eating and drinking normally, and comfortable, the botfly larva isn't an emergency, just quite esthetically unpleasing. As soon as you can get him in to your veterinarian, it would be a good idea to do so. I hope that everything goes well with him.

Hi, both of our cats are indoor/outdoor. We have had them for 4 years this way. Unfortunately they must have discovered an area where botflies are laying eggs, there are lots of rabbits in the next neighborhood over. They both have them now and we are in the process of getting them out. My question is, is there any paristic or pesticide we can give them to prevent botflies from entering them?

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Brainy
DOMESTIC
2 Months
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

I see the botfly

Hi my mom rescued a kitten that someone threw out their window and was ill and I went by today and it has a long botfly in his neck. If I were to remove it myself how would I treat the wound? I don’t want to leave it open for more or whatever else can get in there. Please and thank you. I am calling my vet tomorrow to see what he can do and cost. But I wanted to try this as well.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1408 Recommendations
It can be a little painful to try and remove a botfly, as the hole opening typically has to be opened up and the larvae extracted. The botfly larva is shockingly large. Brainy may or may not need antibiotics, depending on the condition of the wound. Hopefully your veterinarian can work with you on cost and treatment to get this taken care of for him. If the meantime, keep him in a safe place and keep the area around the hole clean.

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Bell
Siamese
3 Months
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

No appetite, sleeping all day.

How much does it usuay cost to remove botfly larvea?spot on getting bigger from this morning its red and black in the middle. How much does it cost to remove botflies?

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1408 Recommendations
The cost to remove a botfly larva depends on the degree of damage and disease that is happening. It may need anesthesia, which would make it a little more expensive. Since I cannot see Bell or know what is happening with her, it would be best to have her seen by a veterinarian, and they can give you a better idea as to what might be involved in helping her.

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NA
Shorthair
5 Weeks
Fair condition
0 found helpful
Fair condition

Has Symptoms

Wound

I foster bottle Kittens from the animal shelter by my house. They asked if I could foster 2 kittens- one recovering from a bit fly extraction. I don’t mind caring for a wound, but I do not want my other cat to get botflys. If it was extracted and his sibling does not have it, is my cat in the clear for me to take them home? Or is there a possibility that my cat may get it still.
All I know is he has a wound from a botfly extraction and is now on antibiotics. They are both about 5 weeks old.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2995 Recommendations
If the botflies were treated, there should be no risk to the other cat; however you should just continue to treat the wound and not allow the other cat to lick the area. You should also make sure that all parasites (worms, mites and fleas) are treated for before bringing into the home. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Jynx
Black
7 Months
Mild condition
1 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Puss

Bot fly was removed. The area is slightly puss and have been using peroxide to try to keep it clean.the larva is removed (fell out on its own) kitten is in no pain at all. Still eats and acts like its self.
Area is located on the lower stomach area. (Next to the penis area)

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1408 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. If the wound on Jynx isn't improving, and is still producing pus material, he may need antibiotics to help the wound heal. Botfly larva can leave significant wounds, and he may need veterinary care to help it resolve. It it doesn't look like it is healing normally, it would be a good idea to have him seen by a veterinarian, as they can assess the area and see if medications might help. I hope that everything goes well for him.

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Oscar
Orange tabby
6 Years
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Raised opening with larva showing
Warbles, Raised opening with a larva
Warbles

What is the risk of re-infestation after the larvae are removed/killed? Do they lay eggs similar to fleas? Is there a chance of a different type of larval infestation other than bot flies? Is it possible for the cat not to suffer any adverse effects from 2 warbles? Can they end up going away on their own?

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1408 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. I'm not sure of the details of your questions. Bot files typically lay their larva and hatch in an appropriate host, so if the flies are controlled, the larvae don't tend to be a problem, but the larvae are quite large, and if Oscar has been affected, he may need treatment for the wounds that they leave. If you are not sure, it would be best to see your veterinarian to make sure that he doesn't have a problem.

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Tigger
American Shorthair
8 Weeks
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Lump on side of neck /black lesion

Took kitten to vet and he said he was almost certain she does have a botfly but he could not get it without using anesthesia as it was causing too much discomfort for him to be able to remove it without anesthesia. He wormed her and gave her first shot. Go back in 3 weeks for more vaccines. Is it safe to wait that long before removing the botfly larvae? It's on side of her neck.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2995 Recommendations
Botfly larvae generally stay in the subdermal cavity for five to ten weeks, ideally they should be removed but it needs to be done under anaesthesia as any damage to the botfly larva may result in a severe reaction in the kitten so it is best to do it properly. Keep an eye on Tigger and follow any instructions from your Veterinarian. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Toothless
Maine Coon
7 Years
Serious condition
-1 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Sleeping in odd places
Loss of Appetite
Constant meowing
Overgrooming area
Shaking his head
Large firm squishy pus sac
Loss of appetite l

His infection had opened up and drained but stayed open and bleeding. I cleaned and treated it with saline, it scabbed over, now it’s infected twice as bad abd twice as big and down along his neck, before it was on top of his head. He seems miserable and my budget is tight. What do you recommend I do?

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1408 Recommendations
Thank you for contacting us about Toothless. That sounds like a terrible infection. He will probably need antibiotics for it to get better. Without antibiotics, there is the risk of sepsis, organ failure, and death, if the infection keeps progressing - it would definitely be best for him to see a veterinarian. There are low cost clinics in different areas that you may be able to find, or some clinics offer a 'free first visit' that you might be able to take advantage of.

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Scarlett
Domestic shorthair
3 Years
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Coughing
Lethargy
Respiratory issues
Vomi
Voice change
Swollen trachea
Vomiting

Medication Used

Ivermectin
Dexamethasone
Prednisolone

My 3 year old cat Scarlett was suspected of having bot fly larva in her throat. She was having respiratory issues, had a swollen trachea, coughing, lethargy, was vomiting and had a higher pitched meow than normal. She was treated with ivermectin four days ago and also given anti-inflammatory medication. She still coughs a few times a day and her meow is still high-pitched and weak. We also found a bot fly on her chin three days ago which we removed. She is eating and drinking like usual and has more energy than before. Would you suggest we take her back in to be re-evaluated, or does she seem like she is healing normally?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2995 Recommendations
Four days is still early in recovery, if you’re seeing improvement I would just monitor for the time being but if there are no further improvements or a worsening of symptoms you should visit your Veterinarian again before the weekend to ensure everything is on track as I cannot say without examining Scarlett myself. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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