I thought I’d seen gross. This gig has shown me a rainbow of diarrhea shades, a variety of infections, lice, mites, vomit, placentas, you name it, I thought I’d seen it. Until now. NOW I’ve seen the grossest thing ever.
One of my fosters is struggling with a litter of bottle feeders. She was worried about diarrhea and that one of them had a “growth” on her chest. A 300 gram kitten with a “kidney bean” sized growth with a black dot on it. Let’s get that looked at right away! So I sent them to the vet. The foster reported back that the vet pulled a wriggling thing out of the kitten’s chest. Did I want to see a picture? Um … ok. But in the meantime I phoned the vet (it’s one I’m familiar with and know the staff well) and asked them “What the hell did you pull out of that kitten?!” She very excitedly answered, “A bot fly larva! We kept it — you can see it next time you’re in!” It seems they haven’t seen one in years. I am assured they’re pretty rare, though we did have a case last summer. I sincerely hope that if I ever encounter them again it is also through the filter of one of my foster homes.
Apparently, bot flies deposit an egg (or eggs) and the larvae burrow under the skin of the host only to crawl out later. Yuck. They’re more common in larger animals — farm animals are regularly treated to prevent this. But apparently any warm mammalian host will do — including humans. (One particularly horrifying picture courtesy of Google!)
Let me tell you right now. DO NOT Google images of “bot fly larvae”. DO NOT even Google images of just “bot fly”. If you ignore this advice and do it anyway, I am not responsible.