Wolf Worm: Meaning, Causes, Symptoms, Treatment
Wolf Worm— parasites such as worms are common, unfortunate problems that humans and animals are most likely to face. While some may pose dangerous problems to the hosts bodies and health, some are less likely not to. Irrespective, it’s not advisable to take chances especially in treatments of cats, dogs and other pets.
Also Read: Wolf Worm In Cats: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment
In respect of this, this article provides detailed information on wolf worms and other closely related details regarding it. Hence, we’ll consider the following:
- What Are Wolf Worms?
- What Does A Wolf Worm Look Like?
- Is A Wolf Worm The Same As A Botfly
- What Do Wolf Worms Turn Into
- Wolf Worm Location: Where Are Wolf Worm Found?
- Preferred/ Accidental Hosts Of Wolf Worm
- Can Humans Get Wolf Worm?
- What Causes Wolf Worms
- Symptoms Of Wolf Worm
- How Do You Remove A Wolf Worm
- Treatment Of Wolf Worm
Let’s consider the aforementioned sections.
What Are Wolf Worms?
It is quite normal to ask the question: what is a wolf worm? This is due to the fact that there are several worms. In addition, some of these worms are attributed some specific animals. Hence, it might be quite difficult to keep tab on their names.
Wolf Worm is a type of botfly’s larva which embed themselves as parasites inside the eyes, upper respiratory tract, skins or central nervous system of animals such as rabbits, rodents, cats and dogs.
Following their penetration into the animal’s skin, they resulted to chronic inflammation and pensions that closely resembles abscesses. Untreated animals infested by will worm may die.
In addition, aside the general name that is given to wolf worms, they are known by other names such as “warbles”, “Cuterebra” or “North America botfly”. Cuterebra is a type of botfly that can cause a parasitic infection called cuterebriasis.
Noteworthy, they are only regarded as wolf worms during their early stages.
What Causes Wolf Worms
Wolf worm is caused or transmitted by botflies by laying eggs on the mentioned animals and pets, or on grasses. However, It is most likely they are laid closely to the vicinity of rodents and rabbits in the latter situation. When the botflies find a suitable host to lay its eggs, they deposit them in the animal’s skin. The heat emitting from the animal’s skins cause the eggs to hatch almost immediately. Once the eggs are hatched, the wolf worms travel deep down inside the skin tissue or digestive tract of the animal.
Under the animal’s skin, they create a tiny hole to allow them to breathe and eventually leave once they mature.
In some of other possible scenerios, the animals such as cats and dogs may come in contact with a wolf worm through rodents.
What Does A Wolf Worm Look Like?
A wolf worm looks like the following description —A wolf worm is mostly half an inch long and is yellow-brownish in color. Also, there’s a brown spot on the end of its body.
They might be recognized while still eggs— the wolf worm egg is yellow in colour.
Additional images is provided below.
Hence, once you notice any of these on your pets, you should consider taking them to a vet for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Is A Wolf Worm The Same As A Botfly
Technically, a wolf worm is quite the same as a botfly. The wolf worm is the larvae of the botfly. Although, the major difference between them is their different growth stages. In a sphere of botfly’s life cycle, they mature from being eggs, to larvaes(wolf worm) and eventually botflies, which the last growth stage.
What Do Wolf Worms Turn Into
Wolf worms turn into botflies since they are naturally, the eggs of botflies. Hence, once the eggs hatch into larvas, they burrow down into the tissues of their hosts and mature by feeding on skin cells and blood within the animal’s skin surface.
Following this, once they are ready to pupate, wolf worm will exit the hole created in the animal’s body and form into a pupa. The next growth stage is the full development into adult botflies.
Botfly is of several dipterous insects of the family Oestridae, the larvae of which are parasites on many animals, including humans.
Wolf Worm Location: Where Are Wolf Worms Found?
Wolf Worms often appear as a swollen lump after their infestation on their host skins. They can either be located on the animal’s skin, eyes, nose, mouth, its respiratory tract or other openings in the animal’s body.
Also, Wolf worm can be found in the following countries where botflies are common: Africa, Argentina, Australia, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, British Columbia, Canada, Panama, Peru, United States, Chile, Coast of Ecuador, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Hungary, Mexico, New Zealand, England etc.
Preferred/ Accidental Hosts Of Wolf Worm
Wolf worm is most likely to be seen on most animals than others. While the infestation of wolf worm of other animals is due to the direct contacts with these potentially vulnerable animals. Such vulnerable animals are rodents and rabbits.
Thus, botflies prefer to lay their eggs on rodents and rabbits.
On the other hand, other animals get infested with wolf worm through accidental means.
Animals and pets like cats, dogs who are natural hunters are more likely to get infected with these worms by checking out small holes and animals hideouts e.g rodents hideouts.
Noteworthy, the wolf worm is not picky. It gets attached to the closest host it can find.
Can Humans Get Wolf Worm?
It won’t be unwise to erase the possibility that humans can get infected by wolf worm. Although, around 150 known species of botfly exists around the world, but only one is known to attack humans.
Humans can get infected by already infected cats and dogs. Also, if an adult botfly lays its egg on a person’s skin, this may also develop in a wolf worm. Common modes of transmission includes: Children playing in sandboxes where cats have defecated. Walking barefoot through contaminated soil.
Hence, it advisable to maintain hygiene by washing your hands whenever you come in contact with your pets or notice something related to wolf worms Infestation.
Symptoms Of Wolf Worm
It is quite hard to determine whether or not a pet has been infected with wolf worms by merely inspecting its body. This is because they do not become quite noticeable until they develop and enlarge into a swollen lump on the animal’s skin.
However, below are some of the symptoms often noticed among infected pets. Noteworthy, the symptoms depends on the areas of the animal’s body infected.
The symptoms are:
Skin infestation: Swelling around the area of skin where the larva is, Lethargy, Lack of appetite, Vomiting.
Respiratory tract infestation: Sneezing, Facial/nasal swelling, Nasal discharge, Coughing, Increased breathing rate, Difficulty breathing.
Eye Infestation: Conjunctivitis (pink eye), Eye discharge, Eyelid swelling, Inflammation of the inner eye.
Central Nervous System (Brain and Spinal Cord) Infestation: Circling, Wobbliness (ataxia), Head pressing, Head tilt, Seizures, Fever, Low body temperature, Paralysis, Abnormal behavior, Blindness.
How Do You Remove A Wolf Worm
Once the areas where the animal is infected has been detected, gently apply a warm pressure to the lumps and squeeze the area gently. More often, the wolf worm will make its way to the surface and when it does, gently remove it from the animal skin with a pair of tweezers. Then, clean the infected area with antibacterial.
However, this method is not absolute. This is due to the fact that the animal might have been infected in several other places that might need serious professional treatment. It might need to be operated on. Hence, it’s more advisable to take the animal to a vet once you discover the lump.
Aside this, applying too much pressure on the lump might lead to the animal’s muscles bursting which can later cause deep tissue infection.
Treatment Of Wolf Worm
It’s best to avoid home treatment. Contact your vet doctor and relay the situation directly to him. Treating the infected pet may pose more danger to it than the wolf worm.