Flystrike is a condition that typically affects rabbits during the warm spring and summer months, this is when flies are more active and looking for somewhere to lay their eggs, unfortunately for rabbits they make an attractive choice for flies.
Flystrike occurs when flies lay their eggs on the rabbit, typically around their rear end, the eggs hatch into maggots that then begin to feed on the rabbit’s. Sadly, flystrike causes serious pain and suffering and it usually fatal if left untreated.
What can you do to protect your rabbit from Flystrike?
Although Flystrike is a serious condition and can prove fatal, the good news for rabbits is that it can easily be prevented with these simple steps:
- Examine your rabbit daily
Your rabbit should always be kept clean especially around their bottom area, if they are suffering with diarrhoea the smell of a dirty bum will attract more flies. By feeding your rabbit the correct diet you can help to prevent loose poo and a dirty bottom. If you see any signs of maggots contact Brentknoll immediately as they will require veterinary treatment.
- Feed the correct diet
Don't overfeed your rabbit, obesity is common in domestic rabbits due to their inactive lifestyles and high calorie commercial food. If your rabbit is overweight and cannot clean himself/herself they may develop a dirty bottom. Make sure that 90% of their daily calorie intake comes from fibrous food like hay, grass and green veg like cabbage to ensure your bunny stays slim and healthy.
- Cleaning the Hutch
Dirty bedding should be removed from your rabbits hutch each day, and Brentknoll recommend thoroughly disinfecting the entire hutch area once a week. There are many pet safe cleaners on the market, ensure the hutch is thoroughly dry before filling with the new bedding material.
- Apply a treatment
There are preventative treatments available, rabbits should be treated early in the summer before any flies are seen. Many products will not kill adult maggots but prevent eggs developing. Rabbits should be treated at regular intervals throughout the Summer months. If the rabbit is repeatedly attracting flies, it there could be an underlying probelm e.g. diarrhoea or incontinence, or a lack of hygiene within its housing.