Maggots In Pets

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.

Community cat Tiger was rescued with a huge maggot wound on his head.

In severe cases, surgery may be necessary under local or general anaesthesia.

Reconstructive surgery was performed by Dr Lesley Teo of Mount Pleasant Central (Whitley) with a single pedicle advancement flap elevated from the neck skin to stretch over the big wound.

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.

If you find maggots on your pets, we recommend veterinary attention as soon as possible to shave and clean the affected area, remove the maggots, followed by topical wound treatment and oral antibiotic therapy, if required.

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.

We welcome medical stories of your animal friends to educate and inspire others. Email us at comms@mountpleasant.com.sg and be part of Mount Pleasant community over at our Website and Facebook.

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