Preventing Flystrike in Rabbits
*Blowflies cause this disease by laying their eggs in the fur of a rabbit’s hindquarters or any material that will provide the maggots with food.
*The eggs can hatch into maggots in as little as 12 hours and then these maggots pupate in just a few days and produce new adults.
*Everything happens extremely quickly – before an owner has even had time to notice and by then the maggots have eaten away at the skin and sometimes further into the rabbit’s body.
Toxins are released by the rabbit’s blood that can cause shock and death, so it is vital to have them treated as soon as possible to increase their chances of survival.
*The good news is that it is preventable and needs to be addressed right from the start. As the culprits are flies, it is vital to have as good a fly control as you can.
*Flies are attracted to dirty hutches so keep the rabbit’s living area as clean as possible.
*Disinfect the hutch weekly in the summer with a disinfectant.
*Rabbits at highest risk are those that suffer from obesity, dental disease and arthritis as they suffer with soiling around their tail that they would normally eat as part of their diet. This is a normal process called coprophagia. If they are too fat, have a problem with overgrown incisors or cutting teeth and are arthritic and stiff, they are unable to bend down to lick themselves and eat these sticky droppings. This results in their bottom becoming impacted with sticky ‘faeces’ and this obviously attracts flies.
*Scouring or diarrhoea can be caused by too many vegetables. A diet high in roughage and hay is so important in rabbits.
*Eye infections also attract flies.
*Apply Rearguard to your rabbit’s hindquarters every 10 weeks from April to October. It is a liquid that prevents the maggots developing to the stage that causes damage to the rabbit.