Paw Prints

Question: My vet just pulled a fly larva out of my dog’s skin. How is this possible? 

Answer: What you are describing is most likely a Cuterebra fly larva and for some it is how nightmares start! We are coming into “Cuterebra season” where we see some animals come in with a small larva peeking out of a breathing hole in the skin. Cuterebra flies lay their eggs around rodent or rabbit burrows, and as your pooch or cat brushes or sniffs around they can inhale the eggs or get them on their skin. Once on/in your pet, the larvae migrate on your pets skin and invade the tissue. They can tunnel under the skin and create abscesses and wounds. These pests can cause problems for your fuzzy loved ones, from skin sores to neurological diseases. If you suspect a Cuterebra infection, have your animal seen by a vet. 

Question: My 14 year old tiger, Norman, is having trouble jumping on the counter. Can cats get arthritis like humans? 

Answer: Yes! Older kitties certainly develop arthritis, which can make their senior years unnecessarily uncomfortable. Cats are masters at hiding their pain, so by the time we notice anything abnormal, we can assume it has become a chronic issue. Creating an environment that is kinder on Norman’s joints is key. Give him easy access to his litter box, food and water, making sure he doesn’t need to climb stairs, jump on counters or step over high litter box sides. If he has extra weight, help him lose it so he doesn’t need to carry it around on painful joints. Start him on joint supplements and fish oil that can provide anti-inflammatory effects and nourish the joint cartilage. Talk to your vet about pain medications if you think he is very uncomfortable. 

Please send your questions to Dr. Marina Shepelev at, or visit

Dr. Marina Shepelev is an associate veterinarian practicing medicine at the Endless Mountain Owego Vet Center. She welcomes weekly questions concerning your furry friends.

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