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Feefo's Avatar
Feefo Feefo is offline
Posted 8th June 2007, 07:50 AM
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Maggots , Fly Strike, Fly-Blow, Myiasis



Contrary to popular belief the maggots that you might find on a pigeon, dove or any other wild animal are neither harmless nor beneficial, nor do they feed only on necrotic flesh. They are deadly.

A couple of years ago I was told that there was a fledgeling dove on the ground near my office and that flies had been crawling over her. I picked her up, took her home and did a quick check for injuries and fly eggs. I didnít find any.

The next morning I checked her again before carrying out the rest of my morning chores and two hours later as I was about to leave for work I checked her yet again . This time her tail area was a heaving mass of maggots and pulpy half eaten flesh , some of the maggots were already entering her vent . She had her eyes closed , was gasping and visibly going into shock. I realised that the flies that had been seen crawling over her had laid their eggs at the base of the feather shafts and that she was being eaten alive.

Flies will lay hundreds of eggs in damp areas and orifices of vulnerable animals. The eggs look like tiny grains of rice which hatch very quickly into maggots. Because of the sheer quantity of maggots they will immediately start to feed on both healthy and necrotic flesh whilst they produce large quantities of toxins and toxic waste. Failure to remove the maggots will lead to the death of the bird.

During hot weather we should examine any sick or injured birds that come into our care for fly eggs and remove them with tweezers, forceps or with a stiff brush like a nail brush. If the maggots are hatched they must be removed immediately because every second the damage to the healthy tissues will increase.

In this particular case I used sterile saline to flush as many of the maggots as I could off her and out of her, then picked off stragglers with eyebrow tweezers. I dosed her with Moxydectin to kill any that I had missed and gave her Metacam for the pain and to counteract septic shock. I also treated her for shock by keeping her warm and giving her Hartmannís Fluids IP (intraperitoneum) because she was so close to dying. After that I put her on a course of antibiotics.

Later I found out that it is possible to make a solution that kills maggots by mixing 1 part Ivermectin to 9 parts of water and using it in small quantities directly on the maggots. It must be applied as soon as it is mixed and any of the solution that is left over must be discarded, because it is unstable.

The confusion about the effect of maggots on birds has been caused by the publicity given to Maggot Therapy, which is a different matter altogether. This involves using small quantities of sterile maggots from the green bottle fly for the debridement of wounds. These particular maggots are necrophagous (they only eat necrotic flesh) and are applied in a clinical environment under medical supervision.

Maggie lost a few tail feathers, all but one grew back. Other than that she made a full recovery and was released into my garden with two other rescued doves.

Cynthia
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...while all the time your dear full-throated pigeons will be heard, and the turtledove high in the elm will never bring her cooing to an end. (Virgil)

Last edited by Feefo; 8th June 2007 at 10:02 AM..
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Reti's Avatar
Reti Reti is offline
Posted 8th June 2007, 08:39 AM
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Wow, Cynthia. Thanks so much for the post.
I wouldn't leave any maggots on a poor animal either, but is is great to know what to do next and how to handle such a tough situation.

Reti
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Skyeking Skyeking is offline
Posted 8th June 2007, 09:10 AM
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Hi Cynthia,

Thank you for bringing up this subject even though it makes me want to up chuck my breakfast. ....welll...not really, maggots are disgustingly gross though!

Thank you for clarifying any misconceptions, as this is extremely beneficial for all of us to know the real facts and the treatment.

It is also a good reminder of doing housekeeping in our lofts, to keep flies as well as other pests at zero or minimum.

I'm glad Maggie made a full recovery.



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Last edited by Skyeking; 8th June 2007 at 09:13 AM..
 
Pigeonpal2002 Pigeonpal2002 is offline
Posted 8th June 2007, 09:15 AM
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Hi Cynthia,

This is interesting and I've never heard of maggots feasting on live pigeons or animals. Do you know which species of flies do this and do you have any idea on how common or uncommon this might be?
Feefo's Avatar
Feefo Feefo is offline
Posted 8th June 2007, 09:59 AM
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Hi Brad,

It is not a pleasant subject but it is actually very common. Acccording to Wikipedia these are the most common culprits:

Quote:
Oestroidea (botflies)
Calliphoridae (blowflies)
Sarcophagidae (fleshflies)
The most common victims in the UK are domestic rabbits and hedgehogs that are out during the daytime. I always thought that it was wounded hedgehogs that would attract flies but apparently it is the flea droppings on the hedgehog that attracts them.

Here are a few links to how it affects different animals:

Rabbits (a good one because it refers to a natural preventative)

http://www.galensgarden.co.uk/herbiv.../flystrike.php

Dogs:

http://www.minnesotamalamuteclub.com/flystrik.htm

Sheep:

http://www.minnesotamalamuteclub.com/flystrik.htm

Guinea pigs:

http://www.oginet.com/pgurney/blowfly.htm

Apparently it has even happened to humans.

Cynthia
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...while all the time your dear full-throated pigeons will be heard, and the turtledove high in the elm will never bring her cooing to an end. (Virgil)

Last edited by Feefo; 8th June 2007 at 10:03 AM..
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Pidgey Pidgey is offline
Posted 8th June 2007, 10:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trees Gray View Post
I'm glad Maggie made a full recovery.
Guess we know how Maggie got her name, huh?

Pidgey
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Feefo Feefo is offline
Posted 8th June 2007, 10:15 AM
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Quote:
Guess we know how Maggie got her name, huh?
I sort of hoped that you woudn't notice that! But yes, that is why she was called Maggie.

Cynthia
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...while all the time your dear full-throated pigeons will be heard, and the turtledove high in the elm will never bring her cooing to an end. (Virgil)
Maggie-NC Maggie-NC is offline
Posted 8th June 2007, 12:31 PM
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OK guys! I am honored that this precious little soul had the name Maggie.

I'm glad this was made a sticky. Although it is not that common, maggots do occur in some situations as Cynthia mentioned. I may, and probably have, told the tale of a house finch that died in the nest and maggots covered the body plus the babies still in the nest. Some nice people called me about this and I got with my rehabber friend to help them get the babies out and cleaned up. The wonderful thing about this is when the lady put the babies on her back deck while cleaning them, there were several finches that came to feed them. The lady rigged a new nest and hung it in the same tree and all the babies flourished. I never saw them but it is something I will never forget.
Avalona Birdy Avalona Birdy is offline
Posted 8th June 2007, 12:57 PM
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That last pigeon that I returned to his owner had eggs on him, and we got almost every single one off.....although I am not positive that they were fly eggs. They did look like grains of rice. The very though of something parasitic on that poor baby scared me to death.....
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Feefo Feefo is offline
Posted 8th June 2007, 01:42 PM
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Maggie, that is such a beautiful story. I have never had much opportunity to get to know finches, but everything that I read about them is heart warming.

Cynthia
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...while all the time your dear full-throated pigeons will be heard, and the turtledove high in the elm will never bring her cooing to an end. (Virgil)
Pigeonpal2002 Pigeonpal2002 is offline
Posted 8th June 2007, 03:59 PM
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Hi Cynthia,

Thanks for the clarification on this....I really had no idea and the thought still seems odd to me. I think the reason I'm having a hard time relating to this is because "normal" flies don't lay their eggs on living flesh and you'd think that a pigeons' body would be too small to serve as a host. The eggs of these flies wouldn't seem to be microscopic like with other parasites such as ticks, fleas and mites. A coworker of mine once told me a story of maggots infesting her cats' anus and bowels. I thought this was preposterous and strange but she assured me it happened.

It's very scary to think that this might be a fairly common occurrence outdoors. I guess the common "pigeon fly" has nothing on these nasties! For Phil, I use the term pigeon fly loosely

P.S. I forgot to mention that I'd include a video of a bot fly on a human. ****TAKE NOTE PEOPLE, THIS ISN"T FOR THE SQUEAMISH****!!!!!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=23eimVLAQ2c

Last edited by Pigeonpal2002; 8th June 2007 at 04:04 PM..
Maggie-NC Maggie-NC is offline
Posted 8th June 2007, 05:24 PM
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Brad, that was gross, yes, but interesting. Conditions must have been pretty primitive for him to be using duct tape as a bandage.

That guy needed some caulking compound to fill up those holes left by the larvae.

I wonder if you have to wait until the larvae fully develops before you can take it out?
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solly solly is offline
Posted 29th February 2008, 02:44 PM
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i brought a baby hedgehog in one night a few years ago.The next morning he looked like he was trying to scratch himself with a back leg,so i thought oh hes got an itch lets help him.As you can probably guess maggots had hatched overnight so i rushed him to the vet where they cleaned him up and he went to a rehabber.They said the maggots hadn't burrowed right in so he only had a few marks but to think if i hadn't found him,he too would have been eaten alive.This is a common problem for hedgehogs and of course rabbits.
Tilly Tilly is offline
Posted 29th February 2008, 03:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by solly View Post
i brought a baby hedgehog in one night a few years ago.The next morning he looked like he was trying to scratch himself with a back leg,so i thought oh hes got an itch lets help him.As you can probably guess maggots had hatched overnight so i rushed him to the vet where they cleaned him up and he went to a rehabber.They said the maggots hadn't burrowed right in so he only had a few marks but to think if i hadn't found him,he too would have been eaten alive.This is a common problem for hedgehogs and of course rabbits.
This is true. My daughter's rabbit had maggots on his hindend. I had to pick them off every morning until I got all the hatchlings. It was dreadful.
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jameswaller jameswaller is online now
Posted 6th December 2008, 03:22 AM
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thankyou for the info about fly strike,.i raise exotics,.i knew about this with/for lagamorphs but not pigeons,..the story had a happy ending,.god bless ..james waller
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