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The U.S.’s First Screwworm Infestation In 30 Years Has Been Reported — And Your Dog Could Be At Risk

This nasty looking creature is called a screwworm. Their name comes from the screw-like appearance of their bodies. They are the larval form of a blowfly. Typically native to warm, tropical areas, they are actually flesh-eating parasites! They are a health risk to livestock and pets and can infect people too.

This past October, Federal and state agriculture personnel have confirmed the first case of screwworm infestation in 30 years in the United States – in Florida. Pets and wild deer were found to be infected. An adult blowfly will lay their eggs near a cut or sore.

The larvae will hatch and live in the tissue – they eat the tissue, and this will cause lesions that quickly die. The larvae can also enter any orifice on the body and feed on living tissue, according to the California Department of Food and Agriculture. In case you didn’t know, maggots usually feed on dead tissue – but the screwworm lives on tissue that is living.