Marty August 2010
Hi! My name is Marty the Cuterebra! I’m this month’s pet of the month. I would like to share my interesting life story with you so that if you ever come into contact with me yourself, you don’t panic! Cuterebra like me are the larval stage of the Cuterebra fly, also known as the Bot fly. Bot flies drop our eggs around animals homes and dens onto low bushes, branches, and rocks so that as animals are passing by, our tiny little eggs can hop a ride on their skin and fur. The body heat from our new host animal activates the next stage of our journey and our eggs hatch, and wait for the next time our host grooms itself. As the animal licks its fur, we take the opportunity to sneak in through their mouths or noses (or occasionally we luck out and find an open wound to work our way in through!) Once inside the host, we look around until we find a nice little spot under the skin to set up camp, and we make a tiny little hole in the skin so we can get fresh air. What’s a home without a window to peek out through? Finally, in what usually ends up being the last stage of our lives we plump up to make a noticeable lump on our host animal. Often times if our gracious host is a wild animal, we are able to reach maturity after about 30 days, then worm our way out of out cozy little home, and pupate on the ground, eventually becoming an adult fly. In the less lucky scenarios, when our host is one of your beloved pets, an owner will usually notice a strange lump on their dogs side or belly... and they may even notice my little breathing hole upon closer examination. This startling observation usually leads to a visit to the vet, where trained professionals extract me safely and spoil my plan of becoming an adult fly. Occasionally an owner will try to remove one of us on their own, but this can be pretty tricky because if any piece of a little guy like me is left in your dog or cat we can cause an infection or a bad reaction. So if you suspect one of my kind has hitched a ride in your pet, please call your veterinarian so we can be properly evicted, Thanks for listening to my story!