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Rebecca
Rebecca, Veterinarian
Category: Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 14522
Experience:  I have more than 30 years of veterinary practice experience.
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my cat brought home a rat with a huge abcess on its neck.

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my cat brought home a rat with a huge 'abcess' on its neck. It started to move and out crawled a large [1"]black grub looking thing. what was it? warble fly larvae on a rat??

Rebeccavet :

Hello JACustomer,

Rebeccavet :

Welcome to Just Answer.

Rebeccavet :

What a story! A cat with a rat with a warble! Where is the rat now?

Rebeccavet :

Yes, this sounds like a warble fly, or cuterebra larva. Once it crawls out, the cycle is over. The hole it leaves behind usually just heals closed.

Rebeccavet :

My name isXXXXX am a veterinarian, and will do my best to help you and answer all your questions.

Rebeccavet :

I hope you killed the warble. Did the cat kill the rat?

Rebeccavet :

There should not be any harm to your cat, unless he picked up a new baby warble from the rat's den.

Rebeccavet :

Give him a good combing and/or bath.

Rebeccavet :

Or apply a good safe product like Advantage or Frontline.

Rebeccavet :

Please let me know if you have any more questions, or if I can help with anything else.

Customer:

the cat possibly caused enough injury to the rat to cause it to die by the next morning. i had left it in a box with a lid. I put the warble if thats what it was, and took it to the vet the next day whaen i had an appointment for my dog. He said it was a chigger. I looked up chigger. Thats not at all what it looked like. It was a big fat grub!!!! I live in L.A. could my dogs or cat get this. This larve is said

Rebeccavet :

Yes, chiggers are very small.

Rebeccavet :

The way cats or rabbits or rats get these parasites is to contact the egg, laid by a fly, usually at the entrance to the den of a rabbit or rat. The egg sticks to the fur, hatches, and a tiny grub digs into the skin and grows. Unless it is removed, it eventually leaves its host after pupating and hatching as a fly.

Customer:

Have you heard of warbles infecting dogs. Why didn't the vet know what it was? Are they common in L.A./cal.

Rebeccavet :

If you comb your cat, or bathe him, or put Frontline or Advantage on him, or give him a dose of Capstar, any tiny parasites he picked up will be removed or killed.

Rebeccavet :

I have seen them in dogs, yes.

Rebeccavet :

I do not know if they are common in CA. I first saw one the very first day I worked for a vet in PA, in 1974, and see them often here in New Mexico.

Customer:

I used frontline the next am. Its my understanding that the larvae goes thru the body before it surfaces under the skin and that takes

Rebeccavet :

It usually stays just beneath the skin, but they have been known to go deeper, even into the brain.

Rebeccavet :

So a good reason to regularly use a good parasite control on cats that go outside. If a cat is regularly treated, any eggs they pick up in their fur will die after hatching, before they burrow.

Customer:

It was so disgusting. Is it also called a cattle grub?

Rebeccavet :

Yes, they are seen on cattle, and called grubs or warbles.

Rebeccavet :

welcome to my world. I once had a client faint watching me remove one of these from his cat.

Rebeccavet :

They are indeed disgusting.

Rebeccavet :

But also just another creature trying to live its life. Yours did not get to complete its life cycle. So sad, too bad.

Customer:

I read they go thru the hosts system . I surprised they don't kill the host. the thing was as big as the poor little rats head. When I first saw the rat I thought he had 2 heads. So you,re pretty sure it was a warble fly larvae?

Rebeccavet :

I can't tell for sure without seeing it, but your description sure sounds like one.

Rebeccavet :

They can migrate through the host, but usually do not.

Customer:

It looks like the picture on the internet. yuk. I'm dissapointed

Customer:

Sorry, sent b4 i was finished. Im disappointed that the vet called it a chigger which it surely is not. Do you know where I could get more info on the warble/

Rebeccavet :

I am sure there is lots on the Internet.

Customer:

Couldn't really find much. Can i ask a question re my dog/

Rebeccavet :

http://vetmedicine.about.com/od/parasites/f/FAQ_cuterebra.htm

Rebeccavet :

Yes, you can ask about your dog!

Rebeccavet :

http://www.petplace.com/cats/cuterebra-infestation-in-cats/page1.aspx

Rebeccavet :

http://www.vcahospitals.com/main/pet-health-information/article/animal-health/cuterebra-or-warbles-in-cats/80

Rebeccavet :

http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&S=0&C=0&A=2388

Customer:

Thanks. She was loosing hair on her haunches and the skin became hyper pigmented and flakey. She was put on thyroid meds and vit pills and a round of antibiotics. She's worse. She' still active and happy. She's a sheltie mix and 13 yrs. The vet wants to biopsy for cushiness. anything else come to mind as a possible cause?

Rebeccavet :

Is that area itchy for her?

Customer:

She doesn't seem to be itchy. I rarely see her scratching

Rebeccavet :

I would do skin scraping to look for tiny parasites in the hair follicles called mites. If she is itchy, it could be some sort of allergic reaction.

Rebeccavet :

If she is not itchy, Cushings is a good thing to rule out. There is a urine test, called a UCCR or urine cortisol creatinine ratio, that is a good simple screening test for Cushings. If the UCCR is normal, it is not Cushings. If the UCCR is abnormal, Cushings is not definite, more testing is required.

Rebeccavet :

A skin biopsy is a good, fairly non invasive test to figure out a skin problem.

Customer:

I bath her with medicated shampoo weekly. She's never had an allergy b4. Hm-m-m urine test. Yes. Sounds cheaper than a biopsy too. I can't imagined its mites as she gets frontline.

Rebeccavet :

Frontline does not prevent mites, but they are more common in younger dogs.

Customer:

If she had mites wouldn't my other dog hav e mites?

Rebeccavet :

Some mites are contagious, yes, but Demodex mites are an individual thing related to the immune system.

Customer:

But I also think she would show more signs of itchy. yes/no?

Rebeccavet :

Yes, with mites she would probably be itchy. I just do skin scrapings because it is cheap and easy and I do not want to miss something.

Customer:

Cheap? He wants 270 bucks

Rebeccavet :

For a skin scraping? Or a biopsy?

Customer:

Oh yeah it was a biopsy. whats the diff?

Rebeccavet :

I do a skin scraping before a biopsy because years ago I did a biopsy, which does cost more because you have to do sedation or anesthesia, and there is a lab charge by the pathologist, and it came back as scabies mites which I should have caught with a simple skin scraping. Taught me never to do a biopsy until I do a skin scraping.

Rebeccavet :

A skin scraping is just scraping off some skin cells and looking at them under a microscope for mites.

Rebeccavet :

Take about as long as it took me to type that.

Customer:

Very good point. This vet has not yet learned this lesson. Would it be smart to to do the urine test before the biopsy for cushiness?

Rebeccavet :

I would, yes. Again, an easy test done on a urine sample you collect.

Rebeccavet :

If it is normal, this is not Cushings.

Customer:

It might be tricky for me to get a urine sample.

Customer:

She pees on the lawn and would probably stop and move if i got near her with a container.

Rebeccavet :

You can leave her at the vet until they collect one, as well.

Rebeccavet :

I will be gone a moment, dog has to go out!

Customer:

Thats the ticket. OK urine sample and skin scraping next Thank you

Rebeccavet :

You are welcome!

Rebeccavet :

Please let me know what else I can answer or help with.

Rebeccavet :

My goal is excellent service. If you have not gotten that, please continue to ask. Kindly rate my answer when you are done.

Rebeccavet :

Anything else I can help with or answer?

Customer:

Oh i do have another question re my other dogs tail. He has a little round spot on the top of his tail that hair has fallen out of maybe 1/2" and the hair follicles and dark and greasy looking. I was told it a scent gland issue. Whats that about? He's a dachas mix and 12 yrs

Rebeccavet :

Yes, there is a gland a few inches down the tail, and sometimes dogs lose hair there, and it can look greasy and oily. Sometimes topical anti inflammatory medication like Cortaid helps.

Customer:

So its not hormonal? I've used med shampoo cortisone cream and anti biotic cream. Its still there. 3 months now.

Rebeccavet :

Is he neutered?

Customer:

yes

Rebeccavet :

then it is probably not hormonal.

Customer:

So just use the creams?

Rebeccavet :

Sometimes these are infections, and need antibiotics. I like a topical antibiotic called mupirocin. Benzoyl peroxide, an acne treatment, may also help.

Rebeccavet :

Yes, you could try treating topically, and if that does not help, he may need antibiotics.

Customer:

I put him on anti biopics left over from a lipoma removal for 10 days. No results.

Rebeccavet :

Then try the ointments. You can try all three together, or one at a time.

Customer:

I'll do that. thanks again. XXXXX look for you under rebeccavet another time?

Rebeccavet :

Yes, you can.

Rebeccavet :

http://www.justanswer.com/veterinary/expert-rebeccavet/

Customer:

OK Good night

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