If you’re a rabbit owner, one of the biggest things you will need to be on the lookout for is fly strike.
What is fly strike?
Fly strike is a very nasty condition that can affect your rabbit’s health in a matter of hours.
It occurs when flies become attracted to the smell of urine and faeces and land on or around the bottom of your rabbit. Here, they lay their eggs beneath your rabbit’s fur and on their skin.
These eggs hatch very quickly, especially in hot weather, and the resulting maggots begin to eat your rabbit’s flesh – it’s what they need to stay alive.
The results of this can be catastrophic and can even lead to the sudden death of your rabbit.
Any animal can be affected by fly strike, but rabbits and guinea pigs are particularly susceptible. This is because they have difficulty keeping the area around their bottoms clean and free from faeces. This is especially the case if your bunny is overweight, as they may not be able to reach these areas themselves. Similarly, if your pet is experiencing some dental problems, they may not feel inclined to groom themselves properly, and rabbits with urinary infections are more prone to ‘dribbling’ urine onto their fur – oh the sweet smell that flies adore!
How can I prevent my rabbit from getting fly strike?
We recommend that you check the fur and skin around your rabbit’s bottom and tail area at least twice a day – especially in the warmer months when flies are more prevalent.
If you notice their fur is soiled, simply wash it with warm water and a special shampoo designed for small animals; your vet will be able to recommend a suitable one for your bunny.
One of the biggest roles you can play in keeping your rabbit free from fly strike is to ensure their hutch or living area is kept clean, with any soiled bedding or sawdust removed and changed for a fresh supply every day.
Even if your rabbit appears to be healthy and active, fly strike can literally strike with alarming speed, so always be alert to potential dangers.
What should I do if my rabbit has fly strike?
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 dry – they’ll want to clip the fur and remove any maggots.
Remember, we’re always here for you if you need advice about flystrike, so call your local Medivet practice whenever you need help.
Is your bunny a special member of our healthcare plan?
If so, they will be covered for worming, and they’ll also be supplied with Rearguard, a product that helps protect rabbits from fly strike.
If your bunny isn’t part of our Medivet Healthcare Plan, speak to your local Medivet practice today to find out more about the benefits of being a member.