Maggots are fly larvae (an early stage of fly development). Flies are usually attracted to animals by their odour, especially for animals with urine or faecal staining (e.g. from diarrhoea), skin folds, severe skin problems, wounds, infected ears, hot spots etc. Weak and debilitated animals and those kept outdoors are at higher risk of maggot infestation.
Flies reproduce by laying eggs on the skin or wounds. When maggots hatch, they feed on surrounding tissues by producing proteolytic enzymes. These enzymes cause an enlargement of the wounds. As a result, surrounding tissues become severely inflamed, uncomfortable and painful for the pet. The maggots can also burrow underneath the skin.
Maggot wounds are common in warm and humid environments
These wounds are often noticed only when the animal shows discomfort or pain. Owners usually notice discharge and/or foul smell from the wounds, which frequently have a small circular opening with surrounding tissues becoming red and swollen.
Maggot wounds can be prevented
- Keep the environment clean and dry to prevent flies.
- Keep your pets indoors if they have a tendency to attract flies.
- Check your pet’s body regularly for any external wounds.
- Clean up any parts of your pet’s body with discharges or staining.
- Keep your pet’s coat short to prevent matting and soiling.