Hot tips for Flystrike Season

The recent spell of hot weather has raised concerns over keeping small furries cool and there’s the ever present danger of flystrike too. We put together some need to knows…

  • Flystrike is mainly caused by blue bottle and green bottle flies
  • The flies are attracted to urine, faeces, or blood and lay their eggs which hatch into maggots within hours. As well as burrowing into flesh, the maggots can also release toxins.
  • Rabbits with dirty bottoms due to digestive problems or which have wounds are most at risk. Lack of clean accommodation that allows faeces and caecotrophs to accumulate on the skin, obesity or mobility problems that lead to poor grooming and concurrent urinary problems and scalding due to calculi, can also predispose to fly strike.
  • Flystrike is an emergency situation. The usual approach is to sedate or anaesthetise the pet so that the maggots can be removed manually. Antibiotics, anti-inflammatories and pain relief may be required and intravenous fluids may be given to try and prevent the rabbit going into shock. The condition can be fatal.

It is much better to try and prevent flystrike from occurring:

  • There are products that can be given in early summer to reduce the risk of fly strike by preventing fly eggs from developing – make sure you ask your vet about this option.
  • Keep the hutch clean and remove soiled material daily in hot weather
  • Food with added sugar, fruit, or excessive amounts of greens, may cause diarrhoea and should be avoided
  • Keep long hair around the back end trimmed and ensure they know how to keep their rabbit clean and dry.
  • Ask your vert for advice on ways to keep the fly population down around the hutch or run. Fly traps, or growing fly-repellent plants in pots such as Laurel, Basil and Lavender, are good examples.
  • Ensure rabbits have regular health and weight checks so that mobility problems or obesity can be picked up early and treated.