Being Rabbit Awareness Week, and with death from the disease on the rise compared to previous years, fly strike has been at the forefront of our minds recently with the weather being so sunny!
Fly strike is a condition whereby a rabbit becomes dirty around their rear end (either damp with urine, blood or faeces), thus attracting flies to lay their eggs on the rabbit’s skin around this area. The fly eggs hatch with the maggots then feeding on the rabbit’s flesh, causing nasty wounds and infection. Maggots consume a large amount of flesh in a short space of time, and so the rabbit will go into shock, collapse, and may die.
Researchers at the University of Liverpool Small Animal Veterinary Surveillance Network (SAVSNET) conducted a study recently on fly strike. Their main findings were
This is a massive mortality rate, with nearly one in two rabbits that become fly struck, dying. It is thus vital that fly strike is prevented, and if your rabbit does become fly struck then they recieve veterinary treatment quickly.
Rabbits with loose faeces tend to be prone to this disease, however any rabbit that is unable to groom themselves, even if they have normal faeces, can develop fly strike. Rabbits with dental disease, long fur, arthritis, or who are obese, struggle to clear away dirt from their rear end, and so are attractive to flies. It is thus VITAL to:
If your rabbit becomes quiet and lethargic, stops eating or drinking, or starts digging into corners of their hutch or pen then please bring them straight to see us. If you are checking their rear end regularly for maggots then it is unlikely they will develop fly strike – if you see any maggots on your rabbit’s rear end then please come and see us immediately as the condition will progress fast. Rabbits are much more likely to survive if they are diagnosed and treated (removing the maggots and treating sore skin) EARLY.
So please bring your rabbit to see us for a FREE HEALTH CHECK this week if you are concerned about fly strike. Remember – prevention is key.