Fly Strike in Rabbits


Fly strike occurs when greenbottle flies lay their eggs in moist tissue around a rabbit’s bottom. The eggs hatch within a few hours and the larvae begin eating the rabbit alive.

Rabbits with large dewlaps (the fold of skin under the chin) or which are overweight may find it difficult to bend around and keep their rear end clean. A diet which is too rich in carbohydrate and protein and low in indigestible fibre, can lead to over-production of the sticky caecal pellets which rabbits normally ingest. The two often go together with an overweight rabbit unable to remove the over-production of soft pellets sticking to its bottom!

The smell of the rabbit’s scent glands also attracts these flies, as does the smell of urine, so no rabbit can be considered safe and all rabbits should be checked morning and evening in the summer months when fly strike is most likely.

Fly strike is very dangerous and you should take the rabbit to a vet as soon as possible. The vet will advise you on preventing flystrike using Rearguard, Xenex or other treatment. Rearguard (which contains a larval growth inhibitor) should not be used on open skin and there have been adverse skin reactions reported with Xenex Ultra Spot On which contains permethrin.

At the Ardmore Veterinary Group we aim to provide the highest standard of professional veterinary care. If you find any of the information displayed incorrect please do not hesitate to call us. We are here to listen and assist in any way we can.

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