Myiasis in two Hermanns' tortoises

Tortoises infected with fly larvae

source: M.J. Sales et al
Veterinary Record vol 153 no 19, November 8 2003
starts p600, 2 pages long

Two adult Hermann's tortoises, a female and a male, some 70-years-old, were taken to a vet surgery in Barcelona, Spain, suffering from wounds in their limbs. They lived in a garden enclosure. Both tortoises were found to have Dipteran larvae in their limbs, and hundreds of these larvae were taken out of the tortoises. The female tortoise had more severe wounds, and more larvae were removed from her. Wound debridement was carried out, followed by disinfection with povidone iodine, and then an antibiotic pomade was applied. One of the tortoises, the female, died, despite treatment. The larvae were probably of the Calliphora vicina blowfly. The cause of death was probably severe destruction of the tissues by carnivorous maggots.

This sort of infestation has been reported in wild tortoises, mostly in the US. Surgical removal is needed if maggots are in swellings under the skin, and forceps can be used to take maggots out of open wounds. Infestation can be prevented by bringing tortoises indoors if keepers notice that they have wounds, or by using screened hutches at the time of year when flies tend to be active. Animals infested in this way should preferably be prevented from hibernating until their wounds have healed. The article describes the infestation and treatment in further detail.