Jump to section

What is Botflies (Maggots)?

Botflies, or Cuterebra, are larvae that form in the tissues of animal hosts. After they hatch, these larvae can enter the animal’s body through any opening, such as a skin wound, mouth, ear, or nose, and settle into the tissues and continue their life cycle. There are more than 25 species of these “maggot” like larvae, and they are found in tropical regions, Mexico, the United States, and Canada. They can be also referred to as “warbles” during the larvae stage. Cuterebra mostly infest rabbits or numerous types of rodents. If a dog is outside often or is hunting rabbit, they are more susceptible to getting larvae into their body.

Botflies in dogs occur when the Cuterebra larvae enter the body of a dog, and insert themselves into the tissue of the dog and begin their lifecycle within that tissue.

Botflies (Maggots) Average Cost

From 65 quotes ranging from $250 - $3,000

Average Cost

$500

Symptoms of Botflies (Maggots) in Dogs

If your dog has been infected with a botfly within his tissue, he will exhibit certain symptoms. Symptoms of a botfly infestation are: 

  • Lump or bump on the skin
  • Scratching or licking of the area
  • Small hole in the middle of the lump
  • Swelling
  • Skin abscess

Types

Although Cuterebra species usually infect rabbits or other outdoor rodents, a dog may become a victim if he is outdoors hunting. Different Cuterebra species can infect your dog, although some are more common than others. Types of these pests that can infect your dog are:

  • Cuterebra species (rabbit Cuterebra fly)
  • Warble flies (Hypoderma species)
arrow-up-icon

Top

Causes of Botflies (Maggots) in Dogs

Cuterebra is a common North American fly that is attracted mostly to rodents, rabbits, or small outdoor mammals. Causes of infestation of a botfly in a dog can include:

  • Being outdoors often in the summer months
  • Being around rabbit burrows
  • Hunting rabbit
  • Interacting with rodents or rodent nesting areas
arrow-up-icon

Top

Diagnosis of Botflies (Maggots) in Dogs

If you suspect your dog has a botfly in their tissue, do not attempt to remove it on your own. You can seriously cause harm to your pet if you do this. It is important to take your dog to a veterinarian to have it diagnosed properly and removed professionally.

Your veterinarian will take a close look at the open or draining wound beneath the hair of the dog. Since the hair will be matted from any discharge, he may need to shave around the infected area to get a closer look. The wound will be a lump or have a lot of swelling and there will be a hole in the middle of it, and oftentimes the actual larvae will be able to be seen peeking out to get some air.

Diagnosis is done by a visual study of the warble hole, and the veterinarian may choose to do other tests to rule out any other parasites or bacterial infection that could be caused by the botfly.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Treatment of Botflies (Maggots) in Dogs

Treatment for a botfly infestation in your dog should only be done by a veterinarian to ensure full safety and recovery of the dog. The veterinarian knows how to remove the botfly safely so no harmful substances from the Cuterebra are released into your dog’s bloodstream. Complications can happen if the larvae rupture during the removal process. Treatment includes:

Anesthesia

The medical professional will need to give your dog anesthesia to keep him relaxed and pain-free during the removal of the botfly. 

Removal

The veterinarian will use a tool to safely remove the botfly from the tissue, being very careful not to squeeze too much or rupture the larvae.

Medications

It is possible that the veterinarian may prescribe an antibiotic once the botfly is removed, depending on the seriousness of the infestation. This is not always necessary, but can occur and the veterinarian will make the decision on this once the botfly is successfully removed.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Recovery of Botflies (Maggots) in Dogs

After the removal of the botfly, it is important to keep your eye on the affected area. Your veterinarian will communicate with you on what to watch for in terms of healing or any complications. If any complications from the wound site occur, contact the veterinarian without hesitation. Once the botfly has been removed successfully by the veterinarian, prognosis is good for your dog. He will be back to normal in no time!

Prevention is crucial to keep the botflies away from your loved one. Try to keep your dog away from areas where there are a lot of rabbits or rodents; check for burrows and nests of these outdoor mammals and try to keep your dog out of those areas. When the weather becomes warmer, your dog has a higher chance of being exposed to botflies; the Cuterebra lay their eggs in the summer and early fall seasons.  Check your dog every night for anything foreign on the skin or beneath the skin.

arrow-up-icon

Top

*Wag! may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. Items are sold by the retailer, not Wag!.

Botflies (Maggots) Average Cost

From 65 quotes ranging from $250 - $3,000

Average Cost

$500

arrow-up-icon

Top

Botflies (Maggots) Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

question-icon-cta

Ask a Vet

dog-name-icon

dog-breed-icon

Pomchi

dog-age-icon

Two Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Small Hole In Skin

I found two little holes. The bigger one is under her front leg and the smaller one on her side. I am very very worried.

July 28, 2020

Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. If you have found wounds in her skin, it would be best to have her seen by a veterinarian, as she may need antibiotic therapy or other medications. They will be able to see what is causing this and get treatment for her so that she is healthy again. I hope that all goes well for her.

July 28, 2020

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

dog-breed-icon

Beagle, Tsu, Pomeranian mix

dog-age-icon

Nine Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Wound

Male, noticed he was constantly biting his side. When I looked at his side it was swollen and a hole in the middle. I put on a latex gloves, put peroxide on area and started squeezing area. No blood a little clear pus. Squeezed harder then started to notice something solid coming out. Continued to squeeze until what looks like a maggot came out. Cleaned wound with peroxide and applied neosporin. Dog is not biting area anymore, will check tomorrow and see if swelling goes down and check if there is any healing, unless you provide additional advice v/r Ric

July 28, 2020

Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. The wound from the maggot may need antibiotics if it is getting infected, and it would be best to watch the area closely for any signs of discharge, redness, or swelling. If those happen, it would be best to have your dog seen by a veterinarian, as those maggots can cause quite a bit of tissue trauma. I hope that he is okay.

July 30, 2020

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

dog-breed-icon

Rescue

dog-age-icon

Nine Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

None

Hi... I just noticed my dog has what may look like a botfly exit wound on her hip. It may not be that but I am hoping someone can give me some advice since today is Friday and there are no vets open around me on the weekends. I will attach an image below.

July 18, 2020

Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I was not able to see the image, unfortunately. If you see a wound on your dog, the best you can do until you can have her seen by a veterinarian is to keep it clean with a solution of chlorhexidine. You can wash the area twice a day, gently. If that does not help, and the wound is still there when your veterinarian opens after the weekend, it would be best to have her seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible. I hope that all goes well.

July 18, 2020

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Rozzie

dog-breed-icon

Red heeler

dog-age-icon

5 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Bot Fly

My dog is staying on my parents property with I am traveling for work, we have found two bot flies already and I need to know what I can do to prevent them. I've already read everything, we will not keep her locked up. Is there a spray or medication we can give her?

Aug. 16, 2018

Rozzie's Owner

answer-icon

recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

It is more of a case of using repellants intended for use in dogs and ensuring that other general controls are made; there is no magic medication which will prevent them, just normal use of repellents. Use of medications like ivermectin should be carefully discussed with your Veterinarian before use due to the breed. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM https://wagwalking.com/wellness/how-to-prevent-your-dog-from-getting-warbles

Aug. 17, 2018

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Riley

dog-breed-icon

Poodle

dog-age-icon

10 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

thumbs-up-icon

1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Swelling

My dog developed an infection on his face and eye. The vet found a botfly and removed it. He gave him a shot of antibiotic. He is a 10 year old 5 lb poodle. He will not eat or drink and I a worried about dehydration. It has been about 24 hours since we went to the vet. Can he die from a botfly?

June 24, 2018

Riley's Owner

answer-icon

recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

Typically a dog will not die from a botfly, however any secondary infection or other underlying issue would need to be treated and depending on the severity, death may occur. If Riley is getting dehydrated you should try to feed slowly (drop by drop) with a syringe some smooth wet food mixed with water to boost water intake; if Riley still doesn’t drink you should return to your Veterinarian. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

June 25, 2018

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Sativa

dog-breed-icon

Mutt

dog-age-icon

10 Weeks

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Hole On Side

I rescued this dog from my brother’s house because we knew if we didnt come and get her and the other puppy things wouldn’t end well for them. They were kept outside, barely fed and practically fending for themselves. The dogs my brother has have puppies at least twice a year. This is the second litter their dog has had this year and I noticed a bump on her back a while ago but didn’t really mind it. I thought it was just a flea bite she had been scratching at or her brother had bitten her too hard. Well 2 weeks later i see that its open and there’s something inside. I ask my boyfriend to look at it and he said in shock that something was moving. We took a look at it and googled it. We don’t really have the money for a vet. Is there anything we can do at home to get rid of it?

dog-name-icon

Napoleon (Po)

dog-breed-icon

Pomeranian

dog-age-icon

12 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Itching

I live in Colorado. Lots of rabbits here. Po loves to be outside in the grass, as well as eat rabbit poop as most dogs do. Sometimes he eats flowers and, as a result, has ingested botfly larvae in the past. While I have stopped him from eating the flowers since then, he has been exhibiting some of the symptoms he did when he had the flies before. I check him regularly for lumps, etc... but have found nothing yet. Last time the ER vet told me that if he swallows the larvae they will make their way to the surface if they can and will emerge at whatever surface they can find. As nothing has popped up yet (at least that I can find), is there something I can give him to kill anything inside that hasn't made it's way out yet?

dog-name-icon

Possum

dog-breed-icon

I don’t know

dog-age-icon

3 Weeks

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Not Moving

I found a puppy under our house it had been there for 2 days and we thought it was a raccoon or possum and it was a puppy he couldn’t walk though and I didn’t know why and I saw a botfly maggot on him so I got it out and it’s been about 11 hrs since it’s been out but he’s eating well and using the bathroom but I have to put a diaper on him and hand feed him anyways could a bot fly make your puppy not be able to walk ?

dog-name-icon

Zoe

dog-breed-icon

Mixed

dog-age-icon

13 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Swollen Ear With Slight Oozing

Ok so I'm not sure if this is botfly or some other kind of maggots. A few days ago I noticed my dog's ear really smelly and wet looking, I checked it out and it looked like an ear infection. The canal looked swollen. Not knowing what I could put in it I gently cleaned the outside with a weak mixture of baking soda and water. I got the cold so it was 2 days before I could check again and noticed the entire ear canal blocked up with a honey comb looking thing, a small hole on the inside end of the ear flap and maggots. :( I immediately sprayed a purple wound spray to kill the maggots along with negasunt powder. Every day now I clean t with cotton and a very mild solution of water and Salve, then pluck out any dead maggots and use the spray and negasunt. so far i havent seen anymore dead maggots, but there is a white stringy tissue partially blocking the ear canal ( looks like the white stringy skin under chicken skin when you're cleaning it. Things are really bad with us so I haven't been able to get her to a vet. The ear while still oozing a little is not looking so swollen anymore, but the hole on the flap isnt closing. She is eating very well and walking all over the yard, but at times shakes her head as the ear is a bit swollen and heavy. I have doxivet 100mg tablets from another dog. Will this help? What else can I do?

dog-name-icon

Max

dog-breed-icon

Cavalier Poodle

dog-age-icon

5 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

thumbs-up-icon

1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Lethargic Dizzy Head Shaking
Weight Loss Skin Sores

I need help....myself and my dog have not been feeling well at all. All doctors/vets continue to tell us we are having a severe allergic reaction to "something". I have had a birds nest and rodents nest near my home that an exterminator has sprayed/removed. We continue to have worsening symptoms and everyone things we are nuts. I have seen this big fuzzy "fly" near my home on multiple occasions as well as seen other things in our home. The mention of a botfly has everyone looking at me like I am nuts. I was told both of my Eustachian tubes are completely blocked. Steroids have not helped. Who can I go to for help and answers for myself and my dog? They barely look at his paw and I tell them how lethargic we are and they keep saying it's non related and allergies are the cause. We find little black specs and "egg" type things around our home.

Botflies (Maggots) Average Cost

From 65 quotes ranging from $250 - $3,000

Average Cost

$500

How can we help your pet?