Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Gabby Bot

Elk’s Lodge #2456, Monte Vista, CO, June 13, 2018

Remember the movie "Alien", you know the one where the creature explodes out of the chest of actor John Hurt scaring the living daylights out of everybody? Well we had our own version of that scenario yesterday.


For the last week we have been treating what we thought was a cyst on the side of Gabby's (our younger cat) chest. Twice a day we would clean it with warm water, then apply peroxide and an antiseptic ointment. But after a week of treatment, the "cyst" was not going away. And there was a small opening, smaller than the head of a straight pin, that would not close. You would think that eventually that little hole would close up as part of the healing process. Plus we thought we could see movement through that little hole, but we thought it was her breathing causing that .

After a week with no improvement, we decide that it's time to seek the help of an expert. Of course we are in a campground in the Rio Grande National Forest and the nearest vet is over 30 miles away. EJ goes to the Web looking for reviews of the few veterinarians nearest to us. We found one in Monte Vista, Colorado that had the best reviews and she called and made Gabby an appointment, at 8:45 the next morning.

Not wanting to subject Gabby to a 30 or 45 minute car ride as she gets very vocal expressing her displeasure of that method of convayance, we decide to leave our idylic spot in the woods and move the RV to Monte Vista(she has no problems with traveling in the RV).

Unhappy Gabby

Only problem is, there are no campgrounds in Monte Vista. But there is an Elks Lodge right downtown. So I call the lodge. No answer. But I leave a message, telling of our plight, and hoping it is OK to spend a few nights in their parking lot while we get Gabby tended to.

We move over to the Monte Vista Elks Lodge and get set up. No hookups, so we are on our own. Pretty soon this fella wearing a tie wanders over. We think "Uh-ho, the moment of truth"! Turns out this lawyer, bar tender, head of the local Elks Lodge (his name is Ben Gibbons) wanted to see if we were OK and welcomed us to stay as long we needed.

Monte Vista Elks

The morning of the appointment everything is going great. Gabby is being her normal rambunctious self tearing around the RV. Then a garbage truck shows up next door and makes a great deal of noise clanging and banging a dumpster to show the neighborhood how deligent he is ensuring the dumpster is truly empty. Gabby panics at the noise and disappears up under the RV's dashboard which is a mass of wires and cables totally inaccessable by humans. By this time it is about 20 minutes before we have to leave to make the vet appointment on time. Cajoling and threatening have no effect in convincing Gabby to emerge from her cave. Finally we put some dry food in her bowl and shake it to make sure she hear the delicious morsels rattling around in her dish.

It works! She squirms out of her sanctuary and we let her have a few bites as a reward before whisking her off to the vet in the car, listening to her caterwauling the whole way. Fortunately it was less than a 10 minute drive.

At the vets, they take us right in. We explain what we think the problem is and a veterinary assistant shows us to one of the patient rooms.

Gabby at the Monte Vista Vet

He examines what we think is a cyst and proceeds to shave the area around the site.

Bot Hole

He squeezes the "cyst" and nothing happens. He puts some vaseline over the hole in the "cyst" and almost immediately this "thing" begins to poke out of the "cyst". Using a pair of forceps he tries to grab this "thing". Finally he decides that he needs to get the veterinarian involved.

She puts a really big glob of vaseline on the "cyst" and the "thing" starts getting more active. She too, tries to grab it using forceps. Pretty soon we're seeing some blood and vaseline every where. But, the "thing" is evading capture. Next she places her fingers on either side of the "cyst" and squeezes it like a giant pimple. (We had to borrow this picture, because we forgot to take one)

Squeezing the pimple

What happened next must have resulted in expressions of incredulity and revulsion on EJ's and my faces. This "worm" squirts out of the "cyst" and lands in Gabby's fur.

Gabby Bot

As it turns out, this happens to animals and humans fairly often. What popped out of Gabby was the larvae of a Bot Fly. It lays an egg and attaches it to another insect such as a mosquito which then bites an animal or human and deposits the egg. The egg turns into a larvae which thrives just beneath the skin using the hole created by the bite to breathe trough. That's why when you seal the hole with vaseline the larvae gets agitated and tries to reopen the hole.

Gabby is fine now. There is no disease or permanent damage associated with this unfortunate incident. Only the temporary indignity of patch of skin devoid of any fur.