Flystrike In Rabbits

1st March 2024

What is flystrike?

Flystrike describes a condition in which flies lay their eggs on the skin and fur of rabbits, close to the bottom. Maggots hatch out of the eggs and burrow beneath the skin, making the rabbit seriously ill.

What damage does flystrike cause?

The maggots eat away the skin of the rabbit, and large wounds can develop quickly. The skin damage causes pain, shock and bacterial infection can also develop. Unfortunately, this combination of damage is often fatal for rabbits.

Which rabbits are at risk of flystrike?

Any rabbit can develop flystrike but it is much more likely in rabbits that have dirty bottoms, which attract the flies. This tends to be rabbits producing soft stools (often as a result of too little fibre in the diet) and rabbits that are unable to groom properly because they are overweight or have poor mobility.

How is flystrike treated?

In the early stages, rabbits with flystrike can be treated successfully by prompt removal of maggots, medical treatment for pain, shock and infection, and the use of insecticides to prevent the hatching of new maggots. In more advanced cases hospitalisation for wound management, fluid therapy and assisted feeding may be required.

How can I protect my rabbit?

  • Check your rabbit’s bottom is clean and that there are no maggots every day during the fly season
  • Ensure your rabbit is fed a healthy diet (at least 80% hay) to control weight and ensure stools are firm and dry
  • Remove soiled bedding from your rabbit’s hutch every day
  • Clip the fur away from the bottom area if it is matted and difficult to keep clean
  • Use fine mesh and/or fly papers around outdoor runs and hutches to control flies
  • Use preventative insecticides on your rabbit’s bottom between May and September (these repel flies and prevent eggs from hatching out)

Flystrike is an emergency – contact your vet straight away if you notice maggots on your rabbit!

Our Services

Acorn House Veterinary HospitalLinnet WayBrickhillBedfordBedfordshireMK41 7HN01234 261839find us