Recognize the Signs
For many of us, pets are like family. In fact, for most pet owners, pets are even closer than some human family members.
After all, what’s not to love? Pets are like the children we never had, or the friends who are always there as our other friends move away or focus on their own careers and families. Pets beg us not to leave in the morning but are always home to welcome us in the evenings. Many pets demonstrate a type of unconditional love that most of us could only ever dream of receiving from another human, save perhaps for a small child. And while they may not be able to communicate in the way we’re used to communicating with other people, those of us who have pets that we love and adore know the meaning of each sound, each look, each movement and behavior, and in our own way, that’s communication enough.
But as you well know, having a pet is an enormous responsibility, as you will always be responsible for another life as long as they are around. And while most children quickly get to an age where they are able to vocalize and even describe any problems, pains, or ailments they may be experiencing, a pet can only do so much to let you know something is wrong. Sure, if a pet is sick, there are the obvious signs and markers; you may even notice a simple change in behavior that alerts you to a larger issue. In many cases, however, a pet may only feel some discomfort or only be suffering to a minor extent from a much more serious problem that won’t rear its ugly head until it’s too late.
A veterinarian clinic in the Gambia has helped raise awareness for a startling and severe health issue faced by many animals, including our beloved pets. These are the signs you need to look out for.
The World Wide WHAT?
As you know by now, the internet is filled with weird and viral things. And like all things that people enjoy clicking on and trying their hardest to sit and watch all the way through, the internet is filled with many gross things.
Oftentimes, however, these gross images, articles, and videos are not put up for the sake of the shock factor alone, but indeed to educate the public about very common and natural—albeit disturbing—critters, incidents, and realities from around the world. For example, take Dr. Sandra Lee AKA Dr. Pimple Popper, perhaps the web’s most notorious M.D.. Her countless viral videos of strange skin disorders and procedures—or just really, really bad cases of otherwise normal pimples and cysts—have shocked us and enthralled us time and again with each push, scrape, and pop. What is it that keeps us coming back for more? The world may never know.
But among the popular internet trends of gross videos is one that actually affects countless humans and their pets each year. Thankfully, one clinic is helping spread the word about this awful condition, and it’s giving you the tools to recognize this problem in your own pet before it goes too far. The unfortunate truth here is that this isn’t only a gross problem that can affect pets… it can happen to humans, too (not to mention most other mammals). If you hate all things creepy and crawly, this isn’t going to be easy, or even something you want to think about, but it’s a reality that’s important to address for your health and the health of your four-legged friends.
Be warned: this is a medical video explaining a common infestation and the most straightforward way for a vet and his team to treat the animal at hand. This is just one of many, many similar videos of this kind of problem, which can occur frequently to pets or even people who find themselves unknowingly exposed.
If you watch the video, no doubt you’ll feel like you’re in some kind of horror movie. Indeed, horror is based off of real life, and we’re sure that parasites like the one seen here were the inspiration for various screenwriters and directors as they brought this real-world horror into more fictitious plots on the big screen.
What we’re witnessing in this video is myiasis, or maggot infestation, and while it’s hard to look at or even think about, it’s a common reality for many people and animals around the world. Luckily, there is a good amount you can do to prevent this from ever happening!
1. Staying away from endemic areas.
Depending on where in the world you live, you may never have to worry about the severity of the myiasis like the one seen in the video above. However, traveling to parts of the world where such infestations are common means that you, too, can become susceptible.
2. Vector control
Vector control is any manner or method by which people limit (or eradicate entirely) any animals, insects, or organisms that help spread and transmit harmful pathogens. Myiasis is the result of the larvae of certain insects coming in contact with any host, such as a human or animal, thus the vector would be the flies laying the eggs in the first place. Similarly to stopping mosquitoes from spreading harmful diseases in various parts of the world, vector control can be done in numerous ways, such as by the application of insecticide to environments prone to seeing these pests. For farmers and ranchers, another method is to shave animals or livestock on parts of the body where myiasis has been most common, such as around the tail. This makes it less attractive for the larvae to attach in the first place, but it also makes it easier to spot any symptoms of an ongoing infestation.
3. Good hygiene and screening
For the most part, the best we can do to prevent any such infestation is by keeping our bodies (and our pets’ bodies) clean and by living in a clean environment. While this is easier for some people than others, practicing regular personal hygiene as well as regularly washing clothes with warm water or by using a warm iron on clothes and keeping laundry away from flies are all great methods of prevention.
When it comes to your four-legged friends, screen them regularly. Do not let them roll around in the dirt where other animals may be going to the bathroom or where you’ve seen flies or other insects present. Lastly, check for any symptoms of an infestation, which we’ll explore next.