Fly problem – Aloe Vera in Veterinary Practice
Fly problem – A number of fly species can cause problems for animals.
In veterinary practice the main animals that suffer are horses, cattle, sheep and the smaller children’s pets like rabbits.
The main types of flies involved are:
- Biting flies
- Bot flies
- Non-biting – maggot flies
- Warble flies
- Blood sucking flies
Gnats or Buffalo Flies
So called because they are black and have a hump back.
Often seen in swarms that attack horses and farm animals.
They cause a lot of stress to animals.
Gad Fly – Black Horse Fly
This fly causes considerable stress to animals and in particular the horse.
They can spread anthrax.
Horse Fly problems – Cleggs
Cause considerable worry to horses, due to their painful bite that soon results in a small swelling on the skin.
Will also bite humans.
Prevention and Treatment of Biting Flies
Unfortunately Aloe Vera does not ad as a very effective fly repellent.
It is therefore necessary to use a commercial fly repellent.
Those produced for the agriculture industry are the most potent and long lasting, but remember most are organophosphorous and therefore there is a risk to both the animal and person when being used.
Adding garlic to the diet can help to keep flies away, as can topical application of citronella.
Any areas of the skin that are inflamed by the feeding habits of these biting insects are best treated by first washing off with diluted Aloe Vera soap or shampoo.
Lightly spray with Aloe Vera First
Aloe Vera gelly or Aloe Vera propolis creme can then be applied to the area.
The spray, gelly or Aloe Vera propolis creme can be applied as required – up to 4 times daily.
Non-biting Flies – Maggot Flies – Fly Strike
Common House Fly problem
A member of this group, which is not only a nuisance, but can also transmit a number of diseases such as typhoid, anthrax and some worms.
Although it does not have parasitic larvae (fly strike) like some other flies.
It is very unhygienic because it can spread bacteria from animal and human excreta onto our food.
Blow Flies, Blue Bottles and Green Bottles
All three of these con lay their eggs on animals which develop into maggots (larvae), and feed on living tissue (called fly strike or myiasis) leading to tremendous stress of the animal and often their death.
The eggs can be laid on all animals, but in practice they are most commonly seen on sheep (green bottle fly larvae) and pet rabbits.
Prevention and Treatment of Maggot Flies
Commercially available fly repellents are often necessary in farm animals to keep these maggot- producing larvae away.
All animals must be kept free from fouling around their rear-ends by urine or faeces.
Regular worming is important to stop diarrhea which will accumulate in the wool or hair and attract the adult flies. Sometimes it is necessary to clip off these areas to help keep them clean.
If ‘ strike’ has occurred, then clip off the area and wash out the maggots with a sodium bicarbonate solution.
Spray with Aloe Vera First.
Apply Aloe Vera gelly or Aloe Vera propolis creme.
Repeat the topical Aloe Vera up to 4 times daily, which can be reduced to twice daily as the condition improves.
If the animals are suffering from stress it is advisable to give Aloe Vera gel by mouth or add to the food.
Blood Sucking Flies
Stable Fly problem
This fly is related to the tsetse fly and horn fly and together they are responsible for an enormous amount damage throughout the world to animals.
Stable flies breed in moist organic material such as manure heaps.
The adult flies cause a tot of worry to horses and produce painful bites to both horses and humans.
These flies can transmit diseases such as anthrax.
Treatment of Stable Fly Bites – as for Biting flies
Bot Fly problem (Horse Bots)
A large, heavy fly with yellow and black bands round their bodies – so they look like bees They do not feed during their short life.
They have a long tube (ovipostor) to lay their eggs – curving under their bodies so it looks like a sting.
Bot flies cause a considerable amount of worry to horses, who often gallop around the posture trying to get away from them.
The eggs are laid on hairs all over horse’s body, but particularly on the limbs, the eggs hatch and the larvae gain access into the stomach where they live during the winter before being passed out with the dung.
Prevention and Treatment of Bot flies
Fly repellents will help keep bots away, however, most horses land up with some of these small yellow eggs attached to their hairs.
These can be stimulated to hatch by washing with warm water, or they can be removed by combing.
Certain preparatory wormers will kill the bots that are living in the horse’s stomach.
Since all the adult flies are killed in the winter by frosts, the whole population of bot flies is over-wintering in horses stomachs.
Selective use of these specific warmers in the winter will kill off this population.
Warble flies mainly affect cattle, but sometimes they can gain access to horses.
It is another large fly with yellow hairs behind its head, otherwise black in color, except for its tail-end which is orange.
These flies cause cattle to run around the field, often with their fails high in the air.
While on the run, the flies lay their eggs on hairs.
The larvae then hatch from these eggs and penetrate the skin.
They travel under the skin to reach the animal’s back, where they form small swellings by the middle of winter.
In cattle a small opening appears, through which the larvae breathe.
In the spring the larvae fall out of these swellings to pupate before forming adult flies.
In horses, swellings form on their backs like a saddle gall.
In some cases the warble does not hatch out and a permanent swelling remains.
Prevention and Treatment of Warble Flies
In the UK an eradication programme was introduced for cattle where it was compulsory to treat all cattle with a topical warble dressing.
In cattle the lesions heal quickly, but if required, they can be sprayed with Aloe Vera spray solution and Aloe Vera gelly or Aloe Vera propolis creme applied daily.
In horses, the warble fly larvae often have to be surgically removed by a veterinary surgeon.
Never squeeze and kill the larvae inside a warble swelling because this can release toxins that may kill the animal.
Insecticidal compounds are available to kill the warbles when applied topically, but remember that most of these contain organophosphorous compounds.
Some of the modem oral warmers can also be used to kill warbles.