They are also known as eye flies, and are very tiny insects (0.06 to 0.1 inches long). They like to gather together around the eyes, though there are particular species that prefer congregating around the genitals. Their mode of feeding consists of sponging up blood, mucus, and pus. Adult gnats are present all year round in the southern Californian desert and foothill regions, though April to November is when they are mostly numerous. They prefer early mornings and late afternoons during the peak months, opting to hide among dense vegetation, the shade of buildings, and in deep shade.
The presence of the eye gnat on the animal is the main mode of diagnosis. They resemble miniature versions of the housefly. Insect repellents, similar to those used for mosquito control, may be used to bring some temporary respite from eye gnats. The most important thing to do is to follow the veterinarian’s instructions carefully when using repellents. Widespread mosquito control routines also decrease the eye gnat population in the vicinity. However, once the insecticide dissipates, more adult gnats occupy the area.
Deer Flies, Horse Flies and Other Flies Affecting Large Animals
Deer flies (Chrysops species) and horse flies (Tabanus species) are huge (around 1.4 inches/3.5 cm long), thick, and stout. They are characterised by their large eyes and strong wings, which enable them to fly swiftly. The female of the species suck the blood of any vertebrate, although they have a preference for deer, horses, and cattle. They can consume more blood during one feeding than any other fly. The males don’t consume blood; they prefer pollen and plant nectar. They spread viruses and bacteria, just like any other fly. Although managing these flies is complicated, there are certain insecticides that prove to be effective, if used in greater than normal doses. The best information about effective products and dosages for your pet can be obtained from your veterinarian.
Maggots (Myiasis, Fly Strike)
Infestation by maggots also goes by the name myiasis, fly strike, or just strike. An animal that has wounds on its skin is vulnerable to eggs being laid in its wounds by flesh flies, house flies, bottle flies, or blow flies. Newborn puppies are especially targeted as the tip of the umbilical cord on its belly is a great place for flies to lay their eggs. For more mature dogs, initial infection often occurs on bite wounds. Entangled hair coats stained with faeces tend to be preferred by these flies. The flies lay eggs on the dirty coats of hair, and once they hatch, the maggots move quickly to locate any infected wound and attack the tissue around the site.
A common sign displayed by affected dogs is red, elevated sores next to the infestation site. It is possible to see some maggots in the wound or sore, but it is never advisable for the dog owner to attempt to remove them. This should only be done by a veterinarian, who will cleanse the wound and take out the maggots. Such situations will require the affected dog to be sedated or anesthetized prior to larvae removal.
The primary mode of diagnosis is checking the wound to see if there are ant maggots inside. In situations where it is necessary to verify the fly responsible, the maggots can be sent to a laboratory for confirmation. It is possible for a single wound to contain the larvae of more than one type of fly. This is because the initial maggots in a wound usually produce suitable conditions for other flies.
Two easy steps that every pet owner can take to protect their pet from strike is treating all open sores and limiting the presence of flies. Treating open wounds involves cleaning the wound lightly using mild soap, rinsing it properly, and finally applying a medicated salve that has been prescribed by your veterinarian. Trimming the fur around the wound carefully is crucial if you are to lessen the likelihood of infection. You should also examine the wound a number of times daily in order to ensure it does not become infected or swollen. Another thing that should be stressed is regular bathing and grooming for the pet. Cleanliness is important and there should never be urine or faecal matter allowed to build up on the animal’s coat.
At the end of the day, protect your pet from flies by using screens, if possible. Ensure all rubbish and putrefying animal material are eliminated so as to control flies in the vicinity. This can be done by safely covering all garbage and refuse containers. Drain all stagnant water, especially in areas where organic material (including yard waste) is collected. Faeces should be gotten rid of from kennels and yards, and urination areas cleaned every day, mostly during seasons of warm weather.
Pseudomyiasis (false strike) happens whenever the larvae of flies are ingested and discovered within the digestive tract of a dog. During the grooming process or through consuming rotting meat, pets tend to ingest the maggots. Most of the times, these maggots are not digested and simply pass through the animal’s system.
There are particular species of flies that breed in filth and produce larvae that look like wood screws. These larvae are thus called screwworms. There are numerous kinds of screwworms, although they don’t usually affect dogs. There is the New World screwworm which is found in South and Central America and the Caribbean. There is also the Old World screwworm, located in India, Southeast Asia, and Africa. There are presently no screwworms located in the USA.
The techniques used to treat fly strike involves taking out the larvae, washing out the wound, and administering drugs in order to minimise the dog’s distress and manage infection. In the event that a screwworm infestation develops, your veterinarian should report it to the proper federal and state authorities.