Flystrike or myasis is sadly a common, distressing and often fatal condition that can affect rabbits in summer when the weather is warmer however, can it occur at any time of year.
Flies lay their eggs onto the rabbits fur which subsequently hatch into maggots. Maggots from blowflies and bluebottles are the most dangerous as they begin to eat away at the rabbits flesh. A fly can lay up to 200 eggs which can hatch in less than 9 hours, being fully mature in 43 hours. As such, if left untreated even for a short period of time it can have devastating results.
Prevention is better than cure which is why it is so important to check you rabbits bottom and above the tail area every day especially in the summer. Clean away any urine or faeces from this area and make sure your rabbits hutch is kept clean so as not to attract any flies. Apply Rear Guard treatment as per the manufactures recommendations to help prevent an attack during the summer months.
All rabbits are at risk; however, there are certain factors that can increase a rabbits risk. Such as the time of year, rabbits with a dirty bottom due to poor diet, arthritis, dental issues or obesity and those with an injury/wound.
If you find maggots this is an emergency! You need to contact a vet immediately day or night. It is not something that can wait as your rabbits life is in danger, it will be in extreme pain as its flesh is being eaten away.
Depending upon the severity the rabbits condition, they are often anaesthetised to allow removal of the maggots by shaving/clipping the fur and cleaning any minor wounds. Sadly in many cases rabbits have to be euthanised due to the shock and extensive damage caused by the maggots.
It is essential that as rabbit owners we are vigilant in checking our bunnies’ bottoms to prevent this devastating condition.
If you have any concerns about your bunny’s health, please contact your local Blythman and Partners branch.