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208 Breeds, 422 Health Conditions  |  Find a Vet

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Grubs (Cuterebriasis)




Condition Overview

Grubs are the larvae of a large botfly that has a wide seasonal distribution in the United States. This fly lays its eggs near the burrows of rodents and rabbits.


Newly hatched larvae penetrate the skin to form cyst-like lumps with small openings, which allow the grubs to breathe. Several grubs may be found in the same area of the dogs body. In such cases, they form large bumpy masses.


Dogs acquire the disease by direct contact with infested soil.


Typical infestation locations are along the jaw, under the belly, and along the flanks. 1 inch long (2.5cm) grubs may protrude from these breathing holes. In about 1 month, the grubs emerge and drop to the ground.


Veterinary assistance is best. The veterinarian will clip away hair to expose the breathing holes. Grasp each grub with fine-tipped forceps and gently draw it out. Do not crush or rupture the grub as this can produce anaphylactic shock in the dog.

If the veterinarian is unable to grasp the grub, a small incision must be made under local anesthesia to remove the parasite. Grub wounds are slow to heal and often become infected. Antibiotics may be required.


Treating the yard may be the best way to eliminate the grub population. Most standard yard treatments from Spectracide, Bayer, Ortho, and others typically contain grub controlling ingredients.


Please contact your veterinarian if you suspect your pet may have this condition.

Show Sources & Contributors +


Dog Owners Home Veterinary Handbook

Publisher: Wiley Publishing, 2007

Website: http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/

Authors: Debra M. Eldredge, Liisa D. Carlson, Delbert G. Carlson, James M. Giffen MD

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