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What are Maggots?

Maggots in cats is a seasonal condition, affecting felines in the warmer months of the year when adult flies are present. Myiasis in felines is noted by red, raised sores on the skin with the presence of maggots. The maggots will feed on necrotic tissue, but are also attracted to moist and inflamed skin caused by draining wounds, skin infections, and fecal-soaked fur coats. Cats with long fur coats are commonly infected and the infection often goes unnoticed for a period of time due to the fact that the small maggots are hard to visualize through the long hair. Felines that suffer from urinary incontinence, newborn kittens, and fighting Toms are at high risk for contracted myiasis.

A maggot is a thin, tubular fly larvae that will appear as a white worm. A fly is a small, winged insect that, as an adult, feeds on blood, tears, and mucus. There are approximately 34 species of flies in North America, but the only flies to cause a true maggot infection are the flesh flies, bottle flies, blow flies, and the average house fly. Fly strike, or myiasis, is the term veterinarians use to define a maggot infection. A maggot feeds on necrotic, or dying, tissue of any mammal, which would be present in an open wound. Cats which have been bitten or newborn kittens that have healing umbilical cord stubs will attract the female fly. The bred female will lay her eggs in the opening of the skin and within three days, the eggs will hatch and begin feasting on the feline’s dying flesh in a matter of weeks. The saliva of the maggot contains a special enzyme that serves the purpose of penetrating the skin, causing a bacterial skin infection for the feline. 

Maggots Average Cost

From 588 quotes ranging from $300 - $2,000

Average Cost

$800

Symptoms of Maggots in Cats

Myiasis may only have one symptom in a feline, and that is the observable presence of maggots. A maggot will appear as a white, tubular worm, found in an opening on the feline’s skin. 

The enzyme-rich saliva of the maggot often causes an inflammatory reaction, noted by swelling and reddening of the skin. The cat may also develop raised skin sores filled will pus, known as a pyoderma. As maggots feast and the feline’s flesh is exposed to the environment, a high risk of skin infection present itself. A bacterial skin infection may appear as red, blistered, moist, or oozing skin. 

Myiasis can cause great discomfort and pain to the feline, but cats do not always show pain. A feline infected with maggots may:

  • Bite at the skin
  • Vocalize
  • Have difficulty sleeping 
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Causes of Maggots in Cats

Maggots in cats are caused by a female fly laying her eggs on the feline’s open or irritated skin. A true maggot infection is caused by fly strike of either a flesh fly bottle fly, blow fly, or the average house fly. A maggot infestation, myiasis, should not be confused with a bot fly infestation known as cuterebriasis. Bot flies do not have a maggot life cycle and do not directly infect the feline. Myiasis and cuterebriasis are commonly confused as one and the same, but are very different types of fly larvae infection. 

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Diagnosis of Maggots in Cats

The diagnosis of maggots in cats is rather simple, as finding the thin, tubular worms on the feline’s skin in the primary diagnostic method for myiasis. However, prior to starting your feline on a treatment plan, the veterinarian will want to obtain an overall health screening to ensure her compatibility with the proposed treatment regimen. 

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Treatment of Maggots in Cats

The treatment goal for maggots in cats is to remove the tubular worms from the feline and tend to the open skin sores. It is highly advised to allow the veterinarian to manually remove and tend to the maggot infection, as incorrect treatment can make the problem worse. The veterinarian will carefully remove the maggots with tweezers and rinse the affected area with an antiseptic of choice. It may be required to clip some or all of the feline’s fur to attend to the myiasis condition. Any open wounds will be properly cleaned and possibly bandaged, followed by antibiotics if necessary. Underlying conditions that may have contributed to the condition, such as urinary incontinence or a bladder infection, will also be addressed as part of the feline’s treatment regimen.

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Recovery of Maggots in Cats

Felines usually have a full and positive recovery following Myiasis, but kittens with umbilical cord infections may have a graver prognosis. As the wounds are healing, the veterinarian will ask you to take precautions against fly strike and reinfection. Prevention methods may include taking the feline indoors or use of a safe, anti-fly strike topical insecticide.

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Maggots Average Cost

From 588 quotes ranging from $300 - $2,000

Average Cost

$800

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Maggots Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Airedale Terrier

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Two Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Tarry Stool

Worms in stool

Sept. 25, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I apologize for the delay, this venue is not set up for urgent emails. There are many types of intestinal parasites that can affect dogs, and they are all treatable with different medications. If they are still having problems, It would be best to have your pet seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine them, see what might be going on, and get any testing or treatment taken care of that might be needed.

Oct. 21, 2020

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American shorthair

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Six Weeks

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Unknown severity

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2 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Worm In Wound

We recently found a kitten outside. He is in good spirits, but had a small wound on the right side of his chest and a swollen cheek. Tonight a small white worm poked out next to the wound in his chest. The only worms I can seem to find on the internet are related to the warbles and don't seem to be particularly harmful. Vet access is difficult where we live so we want to know if there is anything we can do

Aug. 18, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Gina U. DVM

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2 Recommendations

Hello It is likely that what you saw was a Cuterebra. They will settle into a wound and grow. I recommend that you take the kitten to a veterinarian so it can be removed and the wound cleaned. Your kitten may need antibiotics also. Good luck.

Aug. 18, 2020

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Grey tabby

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Fifteen Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

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Concave Chest

I let my cat outside for a couple of days now he has flying all over him and a foul odor

Aug. 2, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Ellen M. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Hello, thank you for your question. I am sorry to hear that your cat is not feeling well. Without examining your cat, it's very difficult for me to know what is going on, but it sounds like your cat is severely ill or injured. Please take your cat in to your veterinarian or an emergency veterinary clinic immediately for emergent medical attention. I hope that your cat starts feeling better soon!

Aug. 3, 2020

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Unknown

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4 Days

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Unknown severity

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2 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Cannot Defacate

Found an abandoned cat infested with maggots. Got all off the outside and any near orifices. Clinics are closed until tomorrow. Newborn kitten, we are bottle feeding and taking steps, but we can't get it to poop. Its anus is an open wound because of the infection. Please help. We don't know if it will survive the night.

July 31, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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2 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. Sadly, I"m not sure how I can help over an email. All you can do at home is try to keep the wound clean, try to get the kitten to keep eating, and hope that the kitten has not sustained too much damage from the maggots. Having a veterinarian see that kitten as soon as possible will be best. I hope that the kitten is okay.

July 31, 2020

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Kitten

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3-4 weeks

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Unknown severity

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1 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Baby Kitten Found With Maggots In Anal Area And In Open Wound Ihm Say Not To Remove Due To If Maggot Is Harmed Then May Release Chemical That Can Kill The Lil Baby Idk What We Can Do To Save The Lil Guy??

See above kitten found has like end of your pinky has open wound filled with maggots along with his anal area full of maggots lil guy poop due to maggots I dont want lol guy to die so what to d??

July 29, 2020

Owner

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Jessica N. DVM

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1 Recommendations

Hello- I’m sorry about your kitten. It would be best to have him seen by your veterinarian as soon as possible. They will be able to help flush out the wounds to remove the maggots and evaluate his general health. Your vet will be able to give you an idea on what treatments he needs and his prognosis going forward. I hope he feels better soon.

July 30, 2020

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Snow

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Persian

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5 Years

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Mild severity

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Weakness

My 5 year cat have got maggots in his gums under mouth today i went to vet he give some medicines and injections and said that i have to put only milk and water through syringe until 2 3 days my cat already becomes so weak and skinny he removes 3 4 maggots and said that clean his gums daily 3 times iam worried help me is this curable??

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Luna

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Calico

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3 Years

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Fair severity

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Maggots In Stool

Help my kitten has maggots in her stool its not a tapeworm i know the difference and i don't know what to do i can barly make ends meet and my kitten is my everything

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Puchu

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Street cat

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2 Years

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Critical severity

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Critical severity

Has Symptoms

Burnt Paws
Bad Smell.
Infection And Swelling

We have been feeding a stray cat, that lives around house. She always comes to our house for food. For a 3 days she went missing. As she is a stray, she generally goes and comes back to us. But this time she got electrocuted By a transformer and her both front legs got fried, and they have been severely infected with maggots. She somehow managed to drag herself back to our house. But maggot infestation is severe.We then dropped her to a animal care. The doctor has suggested amputation of both front limbs. But he said survival for a cat with out it's front two limbs will be difficult. What is best plan of action in this case? What do we do?

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Luna

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Narwegian Forest cat main coon mix

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1 Year

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Serious severity

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Maggots

My cat was absent yesterday for the day and I found her today with a right leg that she can not move .. She was laying in silence and no energy. She was struggling to breathe and didn't eat. I took her to the vet. And the doctor said that she is not going to make it. He decided that when he saw the maggots coming out from behind.. Besides she didn't give any response when he pressed on her broken leg , which means there is a serious injury in her spine.. He said it would cost you thousands but I can't garantee that she would return normal or becomes ok . so I recommend to give her an injection to end her life. To me , I belived that she can be treated , but the doctor said I think she was hitted by a car. And she would have some kind of fructure in the pelvis and something in the spine .. But she was able to move her front body so I am so sad because I had to leave her there so they would end her life.

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Capitano

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Norwegian mix

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15 Years

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Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Maggots

We just came back from the vet for severe constipation in our cat. He had been hiding outside and flies must have gone by his rearend. During treatment at the vet we had not noticed anything odd. Back home later in the day I started seeing many of these maggots coming out of what seemed like nowhere by his rearend. I saw matted close to his skin what seemed like eggs (he has long fur and is well taken care of so this issue must have developed in last few days). I showered him delicately with a small shower head without forceful water but not all these worms got rinsed away and the eggs in the fur appeared glued.during the shower I used delicate soap. After the shower I dried him and with blunt scissors began to cut ALL fur away from anus, tail, hind legs, lower back, etc. As I cut, I threw away everything, worms and fur, in a bag. Afterwards I cleaned my tub, floor, walls with bleach. I took all sheets off of the bed where he was laying and washed (with bleach). I hate bleach but these things terrified me honestly. I will see vet again on Monday but I do not know how we missed this. If he has these somehow inside of his rearend it will be a nightmare. For now, at least the area can stay clean. the fur in areas where I cut is about 4 mm in length max. My only advice is to delicately wash your animal and try to gently cut away the fur in the affected area if the maggots don't come off. Afterwards clean your bathroom or area where you did this with something that will sanitize the room. Wash your sheets if the cat or dog was on the bed.

Maggots Average Cost

From 588 quotes ranging from $300 - $2,000

Average Cost

$800

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