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Fly strike in Rabbits

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Fly strike is unfortunately a common disease which is extremely distressing and often fatal. Rabbits suffering from dental disease, obesity or rabbits that live in poor/ dirty housing conditions are most at risk of fly strike. The time of year is also a major contributing factor (most common in spring and summer, although it can occur at any time of the year) and if the rabbit has any wounds or wet fur. This is because rabbits cannot clean their bottoms properly resulting in a dirty bottom which attracts flies. These flies lay eggs in the soiled fur which then hatch into maggots. The maggots then feed on the rabbit’s skin and underlying tissue, resulting in shock, septicaemia and even death.

Prevention is always better than cure in these cases. Follow these helpful tips to keep your rabbits safe. Make sure housing is kept clean and dry, and perform spot cleans daily to remove soiled bedding. Hutches should be disinfected weekly. Litter trays can be used to help maintain toileting to specific areas and rabbits are quick learners! It is important to feed the correct diet to avoid diarrhoea and prevent your rabbit becoming overweight. It is advisable to check the fur and skin around the rear end and tail area twice daily, especially during the warmer months. Fly screens can be added to hutches and runs to create a physical barrier.

Rearguard can be used to prevent blowfly strike for 10 weeks. This product does not repel flies but works by preventing maggots from developing further. It is in a ready to use bottle with applicator sponge which is applied from the middle of the back to the tip of the tail.

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