Fly strike is an extremely unpleasant condition and can affect our bunnies. No pet owner wants to see their beloved bunny suffering, so it’s important that we do all we can to protect them. And the best way to achieve this is by knowing how fly strike occurs.
What is fly strike and how do rabbits get ‘struck’?
Fly strike occurs when blowflies lay their eggs on a rabbit, usually around the bottom area. The eggs then hatch into maggots, which begin to eat the rabbit’s flesh. It’s horrible to think about, and with some eggs hatching into maggots within just 24 hours, preventing fly strike is much better than trying to cure it.
Check your rabbits daily for signs of maggots. In the height of summer, it’s a good idea to do this more regularly. If you do discover you rabbit has been struck, seek veterinary advice immediately. It you’re unable to attend the vets straight away or you think you’ve caught the fly strike early, you can follow our steps for fly strike treatment.
Are all rabbits at risk of fly strike?
There is a myth that indoor bunnies are less at risk of some health problems such as fly strike. In reality, all rabbits are at risk of fly strike, however your rabbit may be more at risk if they fall into one of the following categories:
- Older, overweight or suffering from dental problems – All these could impact your rabbit’s ability to clean themselves properly, so you will need to check their bottoms regularly and clean if needed. If your rabbit is overweight or has dental problems, these can often be treated by adjusting their diet – speak to your vet for further advice. But, you will still need to check them for signs of fly strike on a regular basis.
- Being a long haired breed, particularly if they’re not groomed regularly – Rabbits with longer hair are more likely to get poo stuck around their bottom area, increasing their risk of fly strike. Whist grooming make sure you’re thoroughly checking and cleaning as needed.
- Having been ill recently, particularly with diarrhoea – Like us, if your rabbit is feeling poorly they may not have been cleaning as much. If your pet has had diarrhoea, this is more likely to get stuck around the bottom, attracting flies.
How can I prevent fly strike?
Fortunately, Beaphar has a simple 3 step plan that can help bunny owners say farewell to fly strike.
STEP 1: PREPARE
- Completely clean and disinfect rabbit houses and run areas with Beaphar Deep Clean Disinfectant.
- Remove soiled bedding on a regular basis and completely replace all bedding once a week.
- Clean and disinfect litter trays/toilet areas with Beaphar Deep Clean Disinfectant once a day, or twice daily in the summer.
STEP 2: PREVENT
- Reduce the attraction of flies with Beaphar Cage Fresh Granules, which contain friendly microbes that break down odours.
- Sprinkle a layer of granules at the bottom of your bunnies’ litter tray/toilet area before covering with litter and lots of hay.
STEP 3: PROTECT
- Treat your bunnies with Beaphar Fly Guard, a vet strength medicine that kills maggots before they can do any damage.
- One application protects your bunny for up to 3 months.
Remember, even when following our 3 step plan, you should check your bunny’s bottom at least once a day, and clean if necessary.
If you see signs of fly strike, contact your vet immediately for further advice.
Written by Beaphar UK
Beaphar UK is a pet healthcare and pharmaceutical manufacturer of medicines, supplements, food and treats, including a wide range of products for rabbits. Alongside their products, the company produce educational guides and ‘how to’ online content for their website – beaphar.com – which is regularly shared on their social media platforms.