The Florida Department of Agriculture has confirmed the presence of New World Screwworm in a stray dog from Homestead, FL. Screwworms are screw-shaped larvae or maggots of the parasitic Screwworm fly that can infest animals through an open wound and feed on the animal’s living flesh. The aggressive screwworm differs from other parasitic maggots. Most fly maggots eat only superficially infected or dead flesh around an animal’s wound, but the screwworm maggots burrow deeper into healthy tissue. The tissue-eating maggots feed on the normal flesh, causing severe damage to the tissue. If not caught and treated in time, death can result.
Miami-Dade Animal Services offers these tips to help keep your pet safe from screwworm:
Check Your Pets
If you have an outdoor pet, check them daily. If your pet has any open wounds, make sure that the wound is treated by your veterinarian. It is best to keep the pet indoors until the wound heals to avoid exposure. However, if you have to leave your pet outside, make sure that the wound is completely covered so that flies cannot get to it. Remember, screwworms like to lay their eggs in open wounds.
Pet’s Wound Looks Odd
Take your pet to the veterinarian immediately! Screwworms can be treated if caught in time. Your pet will NOT be taken from you, but needs to have the wound treated by a veterinarian. Your pet will need both antibiotics and pain medications as screwworms are painful.
There is no over the counter medicine that you can put on your pet if it gets infected. Remember, screwworms dig deep into the pet’s tissue, therefore it is important to obtain treatment from your veterinarian.
To learn more about screwworms, please visit FreshFromFlorida.com/Screwworm or contact the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services at 1-800-HELP-FLA (1-800-435-7350).