Black fly bites
It’s spring, which means the black flies are out and about in the Spokane area! These pesky flies take a blood meal by using their mouth parts to cut a hole in the skin, then add a little anticoagulant saliva to keep the wound from clotting until they are done feeding. Fresh black fly bites will often continue bleeding for a little while after the fly is finished and you will find either fresh blood or crusted blood over a bite. The bite will then show a central blood-spot, resembling a small blood blister. Many people and pets have reactions to the saliva from the flies. The bites will often swell and become very itchy.
In pets, the flies tend to like the areas around the abdomen (belly), where the hair is thinner. They seem to really like the areas right where the hair starts to thin out. In people, they tend to concentrate at the nape of the neck, along your hairline. Otherwise, they also bite along the edges of clothing (like where your socks end at the ankle–they will crawl up your pants to get there!).
Black flies are small flies (have a humped-back appearance and are about 1/4-1/2 the size of the house fly) that tend to be the most active in the mornings, around dusk, or when it’s humid (often before/after rain). They are not known to transmit diseases in the Spokane area, but the bites can get infected, so be sure to clean them after being bitten. Monitor the area closely until it heals.
As with any insect bite or sting, if there is any indication of an allergic reaction or infection, bring your pet in to be examined by one of our veterinarians as soon as possible. Any breathing difficulties or generalized swelling should be considered an emergency and should be seen immediately!
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