Flystrike is a common and very distressing condition that can develop extremely quickly and sadly will often lead to the death of a rabbit. It occurs most often in the summer months and is caused when flies are attracted to the smell of faeces and urine around the rabbit’s bottom. The flies will lay eggs which then hatch out into maggots that will then begin to eat away at the surrounding tissue burrowing into the skin. Flystrike can be fatal as it develops rapidly, literally within hours. If you see any signs of flystrike on your rabbit then you must seek immediate veterinary attention.
Keep housing clean and dry, removing any wet or soiled bedding daily. This will help to reduce the smell of urine and faeces which attracts the flies.
Ask our veterinary team about ‘Rearguard’ a preventative product that can help keep flies away for up to 10 weeks.
Throughout the summer and in warm weather check the fur and skin around your rabbit’s bottom at least twice daily. Ensure it is clean and any excess faeces must be bathed away.
Feeding your rabbit an appropriate high fibre diet and ensuring it does not become obese by allowing it regular exercise will help to avoid a build-up of sticky faeces around its bottom. The sticky faeces are caecotrophs and are produced after the rabbit digests its food the first time. This is normally eaten directly from the bottom and is vital rabbit behaviour that is imperative to its digestive health. If a rabbit is obese or if it is fed an inappropriate diet it may not be able to perform this process.
If you do find maggots on your rabbit, you need to make an emergency appointment at your vets immediately. Many rabbits can be saved if immediate veterinary treatment is given.
Becoming a member of our Healthy Pet Club will enable you to enjoy a wide range of benefits for your rabbit which includes Rearguard protection.
Should you have any concerns that your rabbit may have developed flystrike please contact the surgery immediately and we will book an emergency appointment for you.