BOT FLIES AND BUNNIES
Poor Neo was the victim of a random botfly attack this week. 5 weeks old and cute as a button, the humidity and heat didn't affect him EXCEPT that a lone fly found a way to interfere with his shiny existence.
Raising bunnies is fraught with odd moments of animal husbandry. There are conditions that are not life threatening if one gets to them quick enough. One of the most common, and distasteful, things one sees in summer, is fly strike, where a fly lays many eggs on or in the damp/soiled areas of a rabbit's fur/skin. This can kill the rabbit within a day or two as the maggots eat their way into the skin and blood stream. Hot and humid weather sees this condition proliferate. Warbles is another.
"Warbles is the name of the parasitic condition resulting from the implantation of the botfy (Cuterebra sp.) larva under the skin..." Completely Angora, Kilfoyle and Samson, 2nd edition, page 93. I had seen warbles in kittens 20 year ago, but the vet took care of them and they returned home happy and healthy. This time I thought we would try to handle things ourselves.
Following procedure in Completely Angora, I found the head of the worm and coaxed it out of hiding. At the ready with bent needle nose pliers, I got a good hold of the creature and pulled. It slid out easily and Neo was not all that upset. (He was more upset at being held still for the whole thing!). I flushed the huge gaping hole with peroxide, which I will continue for a week until it heals. I could not get a good picture of the larva, so here is a great web page with a few: