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Old 05-30-2007, 01:09 PM
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Default Screw worm removal



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For the second time in my life, I have had to remove a screw worm. Some reports say the Screw worm was eradicated in the US in 1982, dont believe it.

In around 1989 - 1990, I saw my first screw worm in the shoulder of a cat. The cat was turned on its side, motor oil was poured into the air hole. When the worm stuck its head out to breath, it was grabbed by a pair of tweesers and removed.

Today, when my wife and I were at home for lunch, my wife noticed our kitten had an infected eye. Upon inspection I saw the tale-tale marking of a screw worm - the air hole; which was in the cats cheek, just below the eye lid. My wife retrieved the first aid kit from my back pack. I keep a pair of fine tweesers in the kit for tick removal. To prevent the spread of infection, I put on a surgical glove to the hand that was going to be in contact with the wound. The hole was very small, about 1/8 inch across. Every time the worm would come to the top of the hole, when my wife went to grab it, the worm would go back down into its hole. After trying for almost 30 minutes, I was faced with a couple of options, lance the hole, or bring the kitten to a vet. I whipped out my trusty sharp pocket knife, at which point my wife left saying "she could not watch." The breathing hole was lanced open by about a 1/4 inch. After a couple of tries, the worm was removed.

Antibiotic cream was applied to the wound and the cat was released.

Sorry guys and gals, no pictures this time, it was too gross - lots of blood and puss.
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Old 05-30-2007, 02:40 PM
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Default yes it was

man that was gross. ruined my lunch.
maybe the kitten will be ok now.
Old 05-30-2007, 09:27 PM
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That's quite nasty there Kev, but I appreciate you posting it! Now I've learned how to get out a screw worm!
Old 05-30-2007, 11:51 PM
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Don't guess I have ever actually seen a screw worm, for real.
Used to see a lot of what we called 'wolf's' in squirrels and rabbits, we shot.
They were big and ugly.
Bored right into the animal, some as large, in diameter, as your little finger..some kind of blowfly larva, I guess.
Old 05-31-2007, 12:38 PM
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A wolv, or wolf's, that is the same thing as a screw worm - or at least I think it is. Both drill into the flesh and eat the tissue of its victim.
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Old 05-31-2007, 01:44 PM
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Never seen one, never had to deal with one. And I'm happy to keep it that way.


This is from the California Department of Food and Agriculture
Animal Health Branch, seems to confirm that no one has ever truly gotten rid of these little guys.

And the Screw Worm wiki

The battle of screwworm eradication is never won, and constant vigilance is required. Recently, screwworm has re-entered the US on several occasions. In August 1998, the maggots entered the country in a neck lesion on a US citizen returning from Brazil. In December 1998, Texas reported that screwworm larvae had been identified from an Angora goat. Despite an extensive investigation, the origin of the larvae was never determined. Since the finding, Texas animal health officials have checked more than 40,000 head of livestock and many dogs in southwest Texas, and no additional screwworm larvae were found. Texas remains on full alert for screwworm - ranchers,
veterinarians, hunters, and anyone handling livestock are instructed to turn in maggots to animal health officials. In 1997, a screwworm infested dog entered Texas from Panama after airport stops in Florida, South Carolina, and Georgia.

Last edited by KyleD; 05-31-2007 at 01:46 PM..
Old 06-03-2007, 01:43 AM
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Whoa!!!, Guys!
Thanks for posting this! I never would have thought something like this existed here. Goes to show you; we can't let our guards down, and need to stay alert for all kinds of parasitic infestations...
Old 06-08-2007, 11:12 AM
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thank god we dont have those up where i am, and you can keep them in the south. i dont want them
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Old 10-30-2007, 01:56 AM
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A friend of mine has removed two this year here in Va (one was acquired in Louisiana) from her cats, she called them something else, but the description is the same. She said if you don't get the entire worm out, but merely break off the head, what remains in the body releases a lethal toxin. Since she's an LVT, I'm inclined to believe her about the toxicity. She saved the gross lil things in formalin so I could see what they looked like in case any of my pets were to get one (none all summer thank GOD). I shudder just thinking about them. ICK!
Old 10-30-2007, 06:14 AM
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You can use a thick coating of vaseline instead of motor oil.
Old 10-30-2007, 10:31 AM
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My neighbors dog had one in it's neck.
Old 10-29-2008, 01:02 AM
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Default No screwworms in the US

Quote:
Originally Posted by kev View Post
For the second time in my life, I have had to remove a screw worm. Some reports say the Screw worm was eradicated in the US in 1982, dont believe it.
I realize this is an old thread but I only today found it while discussing screwworms on another forum. Screwworms have been eradicated from the US and, indeed, all of North America.

What kev has described are most definitely NOT screwworms. They are rodent or (more likely) rabbit warbles, sometimes called wolves. They are much larger than screwworm larvae, are usually just 1 or 2 per host, live just under the skin and do not usually kill their hosts. Where screwworms are common, hundreds of larvae can infest and enlarge a wound until the host dies.

Back in the 1950's the Sterile Male Technique was developed by the USDA expressly to eradicate screwworms. It has since been used with some success on other insect pests. It is unsuitable for use against warbles since warbles require live animal hosts on which to develop. Moreover, they do not cause sufficient economic harm to justify the expense of developing techniques for their eradication.

Descriptions of both screwworms and warbles can easily be found on the internet. Screwworm reintroductions into the US are going to be very rare and it is unlikely anybody on this forum will ever see one without going to South America. Anybody who thinks he/she has a pet with screwworms, however, should not remove the parasites but take the animal to a vet so that the vet can send the larvae to the appropriate lab for identification. With a screwworm reintroduction, every day the flies are allowed to reproduce means potentially a substantial increase in the cost of reeradicating them.

Sojac
Old 10-29-2008, 01:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sojac View Post
I realize this is an old thread but I only today found it while discussing screwworms on another forum. Screwworms have been eradicated from the US and, indeed, all of North America.

What kev has described are most definitely NOT screwworms. They are rodent or (more likely) rabbit warbles, sometimes called wolves. They are much larger than screwworm larvae, are usually just 1 or 2 per host, live just under the skin and do not usually kill their hosts. Where screwworms are common, hundreds of larvae can infest and enlarge a wound until the host dies.

Back in the 1950's the Sterile Male Technique was developed by the USDA expressly to eradicate screwworms. It has since been used with some success on other insect pests. It is unsuitable for use against warbles since warbles require live animal hosts on which to develop. Moreover, they do not cause sufficient economic harm to justify the expense of developing techniques for their eradication.

Descriptions of both screwworms and warbles can easily be found on the internet. Screwworm reintroductions into the US are going to be very rare and it is unlikely anybody on this forum will ever see one without going to South America. Anybody who thinks he/she has a pet with screwworms, however, should not remove the parasites but take the animal to a vet so that the vet can send the larvae to the appropriate lab for identification. With a screwworm reintroduction, every day the flies are allowed to reproduce means potentially a substantial increase in the cost of reeradicating them.

Sojac
Sojac, the CDC and FDA have CONFIRMED recent screwworm infestations in the southwestern United States and across the south... Google it!
Old 10-29-2008, 02:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Palladin View Post
Sojac, the CDC and FDA have CONFIRMED recent screwworm infestations in the southwestern United States and across the south... Google it!
Despite quite a bit of searching, the only recent case I found was a dog in Mississippi that had been imported from Trinidad. If there have been any outbreaks in the past 5 years, you will have to give me some links. It is after 3 a.m. where I sit and I do not have time to search all night. I already feel like I've been snipe hunting.

If any outbreaks have occurred lately, they would necessarily have to be in the southern states. Screwworms do not survive cold weather.

And to reimphasize. The maggots in the cats described in the OP were warbles, not screwworms.

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Old 10-29-2008, 08:25 AM
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Whether it was a screw worm or a warble, does it really matter? Yes, it might have been a warble. However, the first time I saw one of these, I was told that a warble and a screw worm were the same thing.

And arent they in the same family? Warble and screwworrm both live under the skin. Aren't we are talking about apples and oranges here? We are talking about 2 different parasites that live under the skin.

The only way to know for sure what the worm was, is to have it sent off to a lab, or ID'ed by a professional. Lets not bicker about "what it was" - but about removal.
Old 10-29-2008, 04:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kev View Post
Whether it was a screw worm or a warble, does it really matter?
It matters quite a bit. If your cat has a warble, you pop the sucker out or take the cat to a vet. If the maggots are screwworms, the screwworm control people need to know ASAP so's they stop any infestation before it spreads. In Texas where you live, it would take only a few loose adults to start an infestation that would be expensive to eliminate.

Quote:
Yes, it might have been a warble.
Nothing "might" about it. From your descriptions, it is quite clear that your cats had warbles. My cats have never had them but I've popped them out of my bunnies in years past and just a few weeks ago I shot a grey squirrel with a couple of warbles on its shoulder. Popped plenty of cattle warbles off the backs of my parents' herd when I was a kid. Helped my brother dig maggots out of our dog's ear back in Iowa in the '50's. They were the right size to be screwworms but neither my brother or I knew how to identify them at the time. They could have just been common blow fly maggots.

Quote:
However, the first time I saw one of these, I was told that a warble and a screw worm were the same thing.
Whoever told you that didn't know what he was talking about.

Quote:
And arent they in the same family?
No, warbles are bot flies, (family Oestridae, genus Cuterebra). Screwworms are blow flies (family Calliphoridae, genus Cochliomyia) They are in the same superfamily, however.

Quote:
Warble and screwworrm both live under the skin.
But warbles stay there while screwworms eat into the living flesh of their victims and eventually kill them.

Quote:
Aren't we are talking about apples and oranges here?
Approximately, yes. Note that there's quite a bit of differences between apples and oranges even though they are both fruit.

Quote:
We are talking about 2 different parasites that live under the skin.
Screwworms live IN the animal, not just under the skin.

Quote:
The only way to know for sure what the worm was, is to have it sent off to a lab, or ID'ed by a professional.
Yep, and I did that. Your description was quite sufficient. If you still have doubts, google some warble pictures.

Quote:
Lets not bicker about "what it was" - but about removal.
About removal:

1. Warble. Remove it yourself or have a vet do it.
2. Screwworm. If there is even a remote possibility they are screwworms (maggots in a wound are not likely to be screwworms but other species of flies instead), get the critter to a vet immediately. Put the cat in a carrier. Put the carrier in a box so that if any maggots leave the animal, they are contained and do not reach the ground where they can pupate. If in the unlikely event they turn out to be screwworms, expect to see a lot of excitement around your place for a while.

Sojac

Last edited by Sojac; 10-29-2008 at 04:24 PM..
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Old 10-29-2008, 04:20 PM
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Had no idea what a screw worm was, thought this was going to be a worm in person type thing, and being on a survivalist board, it was going to be someone removing a worm from themselves! eek.
Old 10-29-2008, 04:23 PM
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PHEW!
Thank God I was host to a warble and not a screw worm...one is much more gross than the other...nasty creature living in my flesh breathing through a puss filled air hole...
GACK!

OK GROSS...when I was researching these I honestly thought this was a photochop and someone drew a little bandito mustache on him!!
that is a screw fly...the warble looks so much worse I'll pass on posting a pic of it. Sorry!

Last edited by firehiker; 10-29-2008 at 04:30 PM..
Old 10-29-2008, 04:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by overlordsshadow View Post
Had no idea what a screw worm was, thought this was going to be a worm in person type thing, and being on a survivalist board, it was going to be someone removing a worm from themselves! eek.
There are a number of videos showing people removing human warbles. Here's one. It's a bit gross.

Sojac
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Old 10-29-2008, 04:54 PM
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Where is the hurling smiley? That was GNAAAAAARLY!
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