How Do Botflies Get in Dogs?

Botflies, also known as Cuterebra, come into contact with dogs when dogs brush against grass where the flies have active nests, according to Pet MD. The maggots crawl on small blades of grass. When the dog passes by, the maggots hitch a ride onto the host. The maggots burrow their way underneath the skin, forming a small lump on the dog.

A canine Cuterebra infection is more commonly known as warbles, according to VCA Animal Hospitals. Early signs of the infection are difficult to detect. Warbles in dogs commonly are found in the head and neck area. Pet Wave points out that close inspection of a small warble lump reveals a tiny breathing hole, which enlarges until the maggot matures and leaves its dog host. Botflies leave empty cysts behind, which are prone to infection.

Symptoms of a botfly infection include breathing difficulties, coughing, fever, circling, dizziness and lethargy, according to VCA Animal Hospitals. Severe symptoms include blindness and paralysis. Once the condition has been positively diagnosed by a veterinarian, warbles can be easily treated depending on the stage of the infestation.

Migrating maggots are killed through the administration of anti-parasite medication. Settled maggots are surgically removed. To prevent infection, veterinarians typically prescribe an antibiotic medication. Treatment for botfly infection has a high success rate, although cases that involve heavy infestation or warbles located near sensitive nerves are more difficult to cure.