Wolf Worm in Cats

wolf worm on cat's neck

The good news is that wolf worms in cats are relatively rare. The bad news is that if your feline is gotten into by a wolf worm, officially referred to as a cuterebra, it’s one of the most disgusting things you might ever see. Picture a hole on your feline, out of which emerges a big worm.

Wolf worms (also known as cuterebra) are big flies who use dogs, cats, squirrels, rodents, and rabbits as hosts in which to grow more Cuterebras. A type of myiasis (maggot infestation), Cuterebra invasions can be rather troubling to witness on your cat.

In reality, it’s a botfly larva. Your veterinarian needs to treat a cuterebra problem, considering that it’s necessary to remove the whole larva from your cat’s body.

Because cats are born hunters, the majority of won’t pass up the opportunity to investigate the burrow of a mouse or rabbit. Interest is a widely known cat quality, and even little kittens like to take a look at holes and possible little animal hideouts. This leaves the felines susceptible to infestation of the opportunistic parasite, and even small kitty cats can end up being contaminated if the hatched larvae fall off the mother feline’s fur as she goes back to her litter. The wolf worm isn’t selective and gets into the closest host it can find, which may consist of very young kitty cats.

Wolf Worm Living Areas on Cats

Wolf worms in pet's body

Parasites in primary are pretty gross, and the thought of a maggot strolling around inside your kitty’s body likely passes an involuntary shudder through you. The wolf worm migrates through your kitty’s numerous tissues and organs and can trigger possibly deadly side effects such as neurological damage by traveling through the brain. For the most part, when the worm is completed taking a trip through the kitty’s body, it settles down on the head or neck and is determined by the discovery of its breathing hole.

Where From Do Wolf Worms Attack on Cats

Female botflies lay eggs near nests of the principal hosts, generally rabbits or rodents. Felines aren’t primary hosts for the wolf worm, however outside cats can get the parasite while having a look at the home of wild animals. The larvae go into the cat’s body through orifices or wounds, not via skin penetration. The best way to prevent cuterebra transmission to felines is by keeping them indoors.

Wolf Worm Symptoms in Cats

If your feline develops a big, cyst-like swelling on his head or neck, seek veterinary care. Although the lump can appear in other areas, it’s uncommon. You’ll see a little hole in the swelling– that’s how the larva gets air. You might spot movement within the swelling. If your feline can reach the growth, you’ll discover him continually grooming the area. Pus might come out of the hole, the result of a secondary infection. If untreated, the larva comes out of the hole approximately 30 days after infesting the feline.

Treatment for Wolf Worm in Cats

Image of wolf worm, removed from kitten
Image of wolf worm removed from kitten

After identifying the swelling as cuterebra, your vet will remove the larva utilizing forceps. The larva isn’t necessarily simple to remove — it retreats from the forceps and should be fished out. It’s essential to seek expert aid to get rid of the larva rather than doing it yourself because any part of the larva left can lead to an extreme bodily reaction in the feline.

After the worm is gone, your vet will eliminate the site and remove any unhealthy tissue. It can take a while for the injury to recover. Your veterinarian might prescribe antibiotics for your feline.

While a lot of cats recover quickly from a cuterebra invasion, it can show fatal if the larva moves to the brain. Cats with a worm in the brain develop neurological problems, including vision loss, circling, head tilt, behavioral changes, and seizures. The larva may attempt to leave through the nose, resulting in breathing concerns.

Because the neurological symptoms resemble other conditions, your veterinarian must perform magnetic resonance imaging on the animal’s brain. If the brain damage is extensive, your vet will advise euthanization. If caught when symptoms first begin, your veterinarian can administer medication to eliminate the cuterebra.

Some cats may totally recuperate, while others will continue to experience neurological problems.

References and used sources

Reyus Mammadli
Having engineering and medical education, in recent years actively engaged in the study of the development, reproduction of domestic animals. Special attention is paid to the treatment and prevention of diseases of Pets. Author of several hundred articles about health and healthy lifestyle. In recent years, he has been treating Pets and birds together with specialists. In their articles on AetaPet.com shares both his knowledge and experience, and, based on reliable sources, methods of primary diagnosis of diseases in Pets and General recommendations for their possible treatment. Of course, the articles are only informative. In each case, diagnosis and treatment should be carried out and prescribed by a qualified veterinarian.
Pet Health
Visitors' opinion about wolf worm in cats

  1. Imane Al-Maghribī

    I’m definitely not gonna let my cat outside after reading this. I didn’t even know those things existed and now I’m totally freaked out about my cat’s health. These wolf warms look disgusting. Can’t imagine dealing with one inside my own cat :@

  2. JennyTheSaviour

    Unfortunately, I had to find out what a wolf worm is before reading this article. My cat once had a strange swelling on her neck so without any hesitation I took her to the vet. I don’t really like to joke around when it comes to my pet’s health. This vet got the larva out but not fully, he didn’t realize that however. My cat passed a few days later… 🙁

  3. Vasiliy Ignatov

    Ugh, this is disgusting. I once read about something like that in a paper dedicated to pets. There was a story of a woman’s cat who got infested by one of those worms. In this paper there were also tons of pictures of this worm and of its extraction. Yikes

  4. Tyler31

    Thank god cats aren’t primary hosts for the wolf worms. Cases of this kind are rather rare because it’s kind of simple to prevent it from happening. Just keep your pet at home and watch it closely when you walk it. As simple as that, people.

  5. Leo_Bosco

    I cannot fully comprehend how terrible those things are. Wolf worms or any other parasites are so damn scary to face. Imagine a disturbing tiny creature living inside you and feeding off of you. Just one thought of that gives me chills. Yuck…

  6. Linda Guyer

    I didn’t know what this was on my cat. I thought someone had shot him with a bb gun. So I cleaned him up and the scab came off . I tried pulling out what looked like a white string. It broke, I put meds on him. Can I catch a parasite from my cat? What must I do, if I can?

    1. Reyus Mammadli author

      Here it is difficult to say, you get to completely remove the wolf worms or not. Given the negative consequences that can expect a cat with the wrong treatment, I would advise you to consult a veterinarian.

  7. Iren Dodle

    The veterinarian was trying to catch a wolf worm larva. Fortunately, it all ended well for my cat. I can not even imagine that I could do it on my own.

  8. Silvia_n1

    If you pet has actually been bitten by a wolf worms (or blow fly so called in the west), and the fly has laid eggs (maggots), on your pet, (whether it be a cat or a dog), veterinary attention is required.

    These flies can carry lots of diseases because they are known to feed on carrion (dead bodies), and can transfer many bacteria with them. Although an immediate bath with a mild hair shampoo is a good idea, I would NOT suggest utilizing the family bath tub.

    Maybe, if the weather condition is warm enough, try rinsing the dog off in the backyard with the hose and use a moderate soap. BUT talk to your vet first! Make a consultation right now and get expert vet advice as soon as quickly as you can.

  9. Jane

    Among our felines had a wolf worm. The larvae died and the bad feline smelled so nasty. I took her to the veterinarian and he eliminated the infected tissue. She didn’t even require antibiotics.

  10. Annie Cole

    I had a feline with one a few years earlier. It is truly disgusting. Thank goodness your feline is doing better!