If you're sqeamish or easily grossed out, then skip this message.
For those who missed my earlier posts, we took Annie to the vet about a week ago because we thought she had been stung by a wasp under her right eye. She had a small scab and a big lump under her eye. The vet put her on antibiotics, but she wasn't getting better. She had basically stopped eating and wasn't her normal Cavalier self.
I took her back to the vet for the fourth time today, and he was somewhat amazed to find that she had a fly larva growing in her skin right under her eye! Apparently it's somewhat common in rabbits and cats, but very unusual in dogs.
The fly is called a cuterebra or botfly (click here for more info), and it lays its eggs on the ground where animals (usually rabbits) have their nests. The eggs stick to the animal's fur and hatch in response to their body eat. The egg hatches, and the larva makes its way into the body through the mouth or nose and deposits itself near the skin surface. I feeds off the host and grows until it matures, then it pops out and flies away.
The darn thing was still squirming when the vet pulled it out. It was about a quarter of an inch long. He showed me some others he had pulled out of animals. One of them was about two inches long and as big around as my little finger.
This all makes sense now, because there are a lot of wild rabbits living in our new neighborhood. The vet didn't even suspect it at first, because he had never seen one in a dog before.
Anyway, Annie already looks like she's feeling better. She'll be on antibiotics for a while just as a precaution, and hopefully the lump will start shrinking now that the "visitor" is gone.