The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too : Screwworm Infecting Key Deer Also Found in Some Sick Pets

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Screwworm Infecting Key Deer Also Found in Some Sick Pets

It’s not just the Key deer being ravaged by a flesh-eating worm in the Florida Keys. Pets are also starting to turn up with gruesome infections.

While wildlife managers have focused largely on the endangered herd and the 107 deer killed since August, vets say they have treated at least nine suspected cases in dogs, cats, rabbits, pigs and a tortoise. Two feral cats had to be euthanized, said Marathon Veterinary Hospital’s Doug Mader. Those numbers are higher than the three reported by the Florida Department of Agriculture, which only counts cases confirmed in lab tests, largely because of the confirmation process.

“That’s the tough part about this whole thing. You look at them and it walks like a duck, but you have to have confirmation that it’s a duck,” said Keys Animal Hospital veterinarian Kyle Maddox, who treated an infected dog earlier this month.

The discrepancy in numbers, and expanded war on the screwworm that now covers eight islands and this week drew a new team of volunteers fanning out with medicated bread to feed deer, has only increased anxiety among pet owners. Vets, however, stress the risk to pets remains far lower than the peril posed to the wild deer.

To read more on this story, click here: Screwworm Infecting Key Deer Also Found in Some Sick Pets


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