We’re in the heart of fly strike season for rabbits. It’s official. Information gained from a UK-wide survey carried out by researchers at The Small Animal Veterinary Surveillance Network (SAVSNET) and shared on The Rabbit Association and Welfare Fund’s website last summer shows just how seasonal flystrike in rabbits is.
SAVSNET reviewed information from 30,000 rabbit consultations across 389 vet practices UK-wide, which identified 205 rabbits diagnosed with fly strike. Of these cases, almost 70% occurred between June and August, and for every 1°C rise in the average temperature, the risk of flystrike increased by 33%.
Fly strike is when flies, attracted to faeces around your pet’s bottom, lay eggs on your pet which hatch into maggots and the maggots feed off the animal’s flesh. It’s incredibly distressing and can be fatal.
- A clean environment is imperative: clean out hutches at least once daily
- Check your pet’s bottom at least twice daily to make sure it’s clean, dry and maggot-free
- Fit fly screens to hutches
- Talk to us about your pet’s diet to ensure they are getting enough fibre to prevent sloppy poo
In the SAVSNET study, sadly 45% of the affected rabbits either passed away or were put to sleep.
Given the scorching weather we’re enjoying, it’s more important than ever to keep checking your rabbits for fly strike (and other small furries), especially those kept outdoors, and to take all preventative action possible. Whilst the study identified that rabbits of five years old or more were almost four times more likely to have flystrike than younger rabbits, and unneutered rabbits over three times more likely to be affected than neutered rabbits, no small furry is beyond risk.
If you do suspect your rabbit has fly strike, please seek veterinary help immediately.
SAVSNET Information and poster image taken from the Rabbit Welfare Association & Fund Website (RWAF) website