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Rabbit advice: protecting against flystrike

Find out how to stop your rabbit suffering from this nasty condition

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What is flystrike?

Flystrike occurs when certain types of fly lay their eggs on a rabbit, which then hatch into maggots that eat the animal’s flesh. It can be fatal. The flies are particularly attracted to wet or dirty fur, especially round a rabbit’s bottom, so the number one way to guard against this unpleasant condition is to make sure your rabbit is keeping itself clean.

Daily checks

A quick check over your rabbit each day will help you make sure your pet is keeping itself clean. Digestion problems can lead to diarrhoea which in turn leads to dirty fur, so look out for a soiled back end. If you spot any maggots, use warm soapy water to remove them and then contact Vets4Pets for urgent advice.

Don't over-feed

If your rabbit gets too tubby, it won’t be able to clean itself easily and that can create the conditions that the problem flies are looking for. Feeding with grass or hay, supplemented by small amounts of fruit and veg is best. If you choose a commercial rabbit food too, make sure it doesn’t exceed 10% of your pet’s diet.

Keeping things clean

Guard against flystrike by keeping your rabbit and its environment clean. Make sure its hutch is cleaned regularly, and provide plenty of good quality absorbent bedding to avoid the collection of excess moisture. Every week, empty the hutch and give it a good going over with suitable disinfectant before providing new, clean bedding.