Spring is well and truly here now, and with the rising temperatures along comes the increasing number of flies….
FLYSTRIKE is when flies lay eggs on living rabbits which then hatch into maggots which eat the rabbit’s flesh. The eggs hatch within a few hours so fast action is vital.
All rabbits are at risk, but sick, injured or overweight rabbits are at a increased risk as the flies are attracted to damp fur, urine, faeces and scent glands.
Pet rabbits should be checked several times a day during the warmer months to look for eggs stuck to the fur, especially near the rear end. Eggs look like tiny yellow/white grains of rice.
- Keep housing regularly cleaned and remove soiled bedding daily
- Ensure rabbits are not overfed which can lead to obesity and dirty bottoms, which will attract the flies
- Check rabbits periodically throughout the day – including house rabbits
- Keep sick rabbits indoors with window screens to prevent flies getting in
- Disinfect housing weekly
- Keep your rabbits dry
- Use fly deterrents such as fly paper, fly traps, citronella and lavender
- Use screens on windows and doors
- Use a preventative treatment on the rabbit such as “Rearguard”
If you suspect your rabbit has flystrike, then please seek immediate veterinary advice. Flystrike is an emergency condition and can rapidly lead to shock in affected bunnies.
Avoid bathing the rabbit as this will make it more difficult to clip away the fur and eggs at the surgery using electric clippers.
This year’s Rabbit Awareness Week (RAW) runs from 9th to 17th May 2015. To celebrate, we are offering 20% off all rabbit vaccines and 10% off neutering until the end of May. We will also be providing FREE nurse clinics to discuss diet and husbandry as well as nail clipping and health checks.
Visit www.actionforrabbits.co.uk for further information and advice on keeping pet rabbits, or download a poster on Flystrike.
For further information or advice, please call Stanhope Park Veterinary Hospital on 01325 380111.