Fly strike in Rabbits

In periods of the year with warmer weather, flies are starting reproduce and therefore more and more are flying around in the air. Our little furry friends are at risk, because flies like to lay eggs around their behinds. Rabbits are said to have "fly strike" or have been "struck" when flies lay eggs upon them. 

After a while, the eggs hatch into maggots and will start eating into the rabbit's flesh. Depending on the species of flies, the effect on your rabbit may vary. However, some maggots grow quite quickly and can start the process of eating into your rabbit's flesh within 24 hours. Naturally, this will seriously affect your rabbit's wellbeing.Rabbits in clean hutch


So how can you prevent this from happening? 
Generally spoken, the flies are attracted to warm areas that are not very clean. Therefore, cleaning your rabbit's cage at least once a week can be vital to preventing the problem from occuring. However, perhaps even more important, is the general wellbeing of your rabbit. 

You can do the following things to make sure your rabbit stays happy and healthy:

  • Make sure it exercises enough. With the nice weather, your rabbit can easily run around outside for a while, as long as it has a restricted area so you don't end up losing it. Overweight or obese bunnies are at higher risk to get struck!
  • Long haired rabbits are also more susceptible to getting struck. Therefore, it can be solution to frequently brush the fur and even cut it a little when your rabbit has lots and lots of hair. 
  • Maintain a regular dental routine. There are many treats available that help keep your rabbit's dental health in peak condition. Dental problems can lead to many more serious health problems. 
  • Check your rabbit frequently; especially when it's already a bit older. Older rabbits are likely to be less active and thus move less. This makes the conditions ideal for flies to strike and lay their eggs on your senior rabbit.

If your rabbit is suffering from wounds or diarrhea, be sure to keep a close eye on it. These are all factors that affect its general health and which could mean it becomes more susceptible to be struck. Especially during the hot summer months, it is important to keep a close eye on your rabbit's behind, because there are many more flies in the air at this time.

Anything else?
Fly Strike can be fatal if not treated in time. During the summer months, it is advised to check at least twice a day to ensure that no eggs have been laid and if they are to immediately remove them and consult a vet.

Regardless of the weather, you should check your rabbit for signs of illness every day. Loss of appetite, changes in drinking or toilet habits can be signs of illness.