Flystrike – how to protect your rabbit

Bunny with carrotFlystrike can very often be fatal.  It is caused by flies, mainly the ‘Green Bottle’, laying eggs on damp areas of your rabbit’s skin and fur.  When the eggs hatch, the maggots can then eat the flesh of your rabbit which causes severe pain, tissue damage and infections.  Sadly many affected rabbits do not live through this disease.

If rabbits are not kept in clean conditions or are  unable to keep themselves clean, they can be affected by flystrike.   However, the good news is that  it can be prevented.

Researchers from the Small Animal Veterinary Surveillance Network (SAVSNET) have been investigating what puts rabbits at risk of flystrike.  Working with over 385 veterinary practices across the country they collected information from over 30,000 rabbit consultations and identified 205 rabbits diagnosed with flystrike.

The research team found that flystrike was first recorded in the month of April with almost 70% of cases occurring between June and August.  Additionally, for every 1oC rise in the average temperature, the risk of flystrike increased by 33%.  Rabbits who were 5 years old or more were almost 4 times more likely to have flystrike than younger rabbits and un-neutered does were over three times more likely to be affected than neutered does.

There is a lot of information available regarding measures to prevent flystrike, such as keeping rabbits and their environment clean, ensuring rabbits do not become overweight (reducing their ability to groom themselves) and most important of all, taking time to check rabbits frequently for signs of dirty fur or flystrike.  In addition, preventative treatments aimed at deterring flies from your rabbit accommodation are available.  Ask at reception for further details and advice.  For further information on caring for your rabbit, simply click here.

If you are concerned about your rabbit – give us a call, we are always here for you 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.



  Written by Paula Grant – Communications Manager