October 2012 Issue
Cuterebra Infestation Can Be Deadly
If the parasite migrates to the brain, it can result in aggression, seizures, spinal paralysis and blindess.
Most owners know the parasites that can bedevil their cats, including fleas, ticks, mites and an abundance of worms. A lesser-known parasite, with far greater impact, is cuterebra (kyüt-ә-`rç-brә). Theyre larva from adult botflies that can burrow under a cats skin or, more alarmingly, enter through the nose and migrate to the brain. The threat of infestation is not widely known for two reasons, says parasitologist Dwight Bowman, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. It tends to be more rural than urban and suburban. And the flies are prevalent only in the Western and Northeast U.S., and Southeastern Canada.
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