Well, folks, I’m just not sure how to start this blog post. It’s rather strange.
Maybe I’ll start by asking if you’ve ever seen the show “Monsters Inside Me” or something like that.
Well, have you?
We have a black and white feral kitten here we call Felix. Last weekend, while LilSis was here, Felix’s right cheek started swelling up. I feared the worst, and unfortunately, I feared right.
The swelling continued, just below the eye, until the eye closed. The kitten became lethargic and wobbled when it tried to walk. It would not eat or drink.
I love animals, so please don’t hate me; but we don’t typically try to capture and take feral animals to the vet. It’s just too expensive. When we can, we treat the animals ourselves.
Just so happens, I was able to diagnose Felix because I had seen this same phenomenon in two previous cats that were “dropped off” here.
Last year, after Hurricanes Gustav and Ike, LilSis, Dotter, and I treated a feral cat for this same malady. It was not a pretty sight.
Have you figured out yet what it was?
Three days after the swelling started in Felix’s cheek, a hole appeared. Inside that hole lived a creature that was literally eating the tissue inside the cheek. Yes, you heard me.
After trying repeatedly to coax the organism out and failing, Dotter came up with the great idea, which she relayed to LilSis and me by text message, that we try a saline solution injection.
And it worked! While LilSis held the kitten wrapped in a towel, I flushed the hole with warm saline water, and the critter, drowining, came out of the hole for air.
I grabbed it with the tweezers and carefully removed it. The creature is equiped with little barbs on its body that helps it hold tight, so I had to be cautious not to pull so hard that I broke it off completely.
And here is the major body part of what was retrieved.
It was a botfly larva. The eggs are carried and dropped by mosquitoes. They burrow into the flesh and begin to eat and grow until time to emerge from the hole. I know it’s gross.
And I hate to really scare you, but humans can get them, too! Just watch that TV show sometime, and you’ll see it might be true. (You can’t believe everything you see on Animal Planet, right?)
I’m glad to say Felix is eating and drinking and walking with more stability.
I leave you with this true but creepy story of the latest in the adventures of LilSis and Bayou Woman. Right now, we are trying to decide if we can take Felix to the vet while she’s more docile and get her fixed up to become a real Bayou Woman household pet.