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Top 3 Creepiest Parasites

Reviewed by Peter Kintzer DVM, DACVIM on Thursday, June 19, 2014
Posted June 19, 2014 in A Pet's Life

In recognition of Pet Health Network’s campaign -- Beware the Bug: Parasite Prevention and Screening for Dogs -- we asked a panel of veterinarians what they believed to be the three “creepiest” parasites that they had seen affecting pets. What they came up with, based on firsthand experience, made us cringe. Remember, if your pet is showing any signs of an infestation, be sure to contact your veterinarian as soon as possible; each of these parasites poses a serious threat to their health.

#1. Maggots
Beetle maggotOne of the most well-known parasites, the term “maggot” specifically refers to the larvae of a fly, but many people refer to maggots as the larvae of any insect. 1

Pets confined outside, and weak or debilitated pets are especially tempting targets for flies to lay eggs on. In pets, maggots are known to feast on any dead or dying tissue, specifically any type of draining wound or dirty coat. This process is called Myiasis and becomes very dangerous because once the maggots begin feasting on decaying tissue, they may continue to eat away at healthy tissue. Due to their destructive nature, maggots are surely one of the most unsettling parasites.


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Monica was a summer intern of IDEXX’s Pet Health Network team in 2014.

Opinions expressed are those of the writer:

The opinions and views expressed in this post are those of the author's and do not necessarily represent the beliefs, policies or positions of all veterinarians, Pet Health Network, IDEXX Laboratories, Inc. or its affiliates and partner companies.