Understanding flystrike and how to avoid it
August 21, 2019
Flystrike (aka myiasis) occurs when flies lay their eggs on a rabbit’s skin. When the eggs hatch, the maggots chew the rabbit’s skin, which can quickly become fatal – so fast action is essential.
If you do spot any maggots on your pet’s fur, contact us immediately on 01223 359021, as treatment will need to start urgently. If you can start the treatment quickly, your rabbit will have a much better chance of a full recovery.
The condition is most common in the warmer months between April to October, but it can occur all year round. Flies can lay up to 200 eggs on the skin at the rear of the animal. The maggots then eat away large areas of tissue around the rear, tail, belly and back.
How do I know if my rabbit has flystrike?
All rabbits are in danger of developing flystrike, but those living in dirty or damp conditions will be at a higher risk.
Plus, as our head vet Patrick points out, rabbits are masters of suppressing pain or illness – so it’s important to check your pet’s rear carefully for any signs of maggots.
If there are maggots and they grow, your rabbit could go into severe shock, leading to it collapsing.
Prevention is ALWAYS best
Clarendon Street Veterinary Surgery advises following the below steps to avoid potential trauma and suffering:
- Ensure your rabbit is eating a healthy diet
- Ensure your rabbit can clean itself
- Provide fresh bedding daily and disinfect hutches regularly – keeping your rabbit’s environment clean and dry is imperative, as flies are attracted to damp and smelly conditions
- Check your rabbit’s bottom daily for any signs of maggots
- Add barriers to hutches and runs, such as fly screens, to prevent them from getting to your rabbit
If you’re concerned that your rabbit could be at risk from flystrike, don’t hesitate to get in touch.