If you own a rabbit, one of the biggest things you will need to be on the lookout for is fly strike.
Fly strike is a very nasty condition that can affect your rabbit within hours. Fly strike occurs when flies, who are attracted to the smell of urine and faeces, land on or around the bottom of your rabbit and lay their eggs in your rabbit’s fur and on their skin. These eggs hatch very quickly, especially in hot weather, and the resulting maggots (needing to feed to stay alive) begin to eat your rabbit’s flesh. The results can be catastrophic and can even lead to the death of your rabbit within a matter of hours.
Any animal can be affected by fly strike, but rabbits (and guinea pigs) are particularly susceptible. This is because they can have difficulty keeping the area around their bottom clean and free of faeces. If your rabbit is overweight, they may not be able to reach all the areas of themselves properly for grooming purposes. Similarly, if your rabbit has dental issues, they may not feel inclined to properly groom themselves. Rabbit suffering with urinary infections are more prone to ‘dribbling’ urine onto their fur, the smell of which will attract flies.
We recommend that you check the fur and skin around the bottom of your rabbit at least twice a day, especially in the warmer months when flies are more prevalent. If you notice that their fur is soiled (check all around the tail, not just the bottom), simply wash it with warm water and a special shampoo designed for small animals.
One of the biggest roles you can play in keeping your bunny free from fly strike is to ensure that their hutch or living area is kept clean, with any soiled bedding or sawdust being removed and changed for a fresh supply daily.
Even if your rabbit seems healthy and active, fly strike can STRIKE with alarming speed, so be alert to the potential dangers.
If you suspect your rabbit has fly strike, consider it an emergency and take them to your vet immediately. Do not try and wash the affected area as the vet will need it to be nice and dry so that they can easily clip the fur and remove any maggots.
Medivet Chafford Hundred reported a case of Fly Strike at the beginning of July on their Medivet Chafford Hundred Facebook page. We are sharing these images of their little patient, Rooney Thompson, so you can know what to look for when you check your furry friends:
The Medivet Healthcare Plan now introduces even more benefits for your bunny. If you sign your rabbit up to the Medivet Healthcare plan, they will be covered for worming and head tilt treatment. They will also be supplied with Rearguard (which helps protect against Fly Strike) and will receive 2 free nail clips per year. Find out more about the Medivet Healthcare Plan.
Posted July 21, 2015 in Pet Care Advice