BIG PINE KEY — Officials say they've found no evidence of screwworm in hundreds of pets examined for signs of the parasite killing endangered deer in the Florida Keys.
Federal and state agricultural officials screened about 75 cats and dogs on Sunday at a veterinary hospital in Marathon.
Any animal being driven north from the Keys onto the mainland also must stop for a screening at a Key Largo checkpoint. According to Florida's Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, over 520 dogs, 20 cats, two parrots and one rabbit had been cleared at the checkpoint by Friday.
New World screwworms are maggots that feed on living, warm-blooded animals. Infected pets usually survive with treatment. However, over 60 endangered Key deer have died since the summer because of screwworm.