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Flystrike (myiasis) is a potentially fatal illness that can affect any rabbit.  It occurs when flies lay eggs in a rabbit's fur, usually around its bottom, which then mature into maggots and eat into the rabbit's flesh.  With some species of fly this can happen within 24 hours.  Flystrike is much more common during the warmer months when flies are active.

There are several factors which increase a rabbit's risk of flystrike:-

- obesity (the rabbit cannot reach its bottom to clean it properly)
- sticky or dirty bottom (caused by obesity and/or incorrect diet)
- unhygienic living conditions (which attracts flies)
- diarrhoea
- runny eyes
- dental disease
- long hair


- rabbit is quiet or listless
- rabbit is moving uncomfortably or is restless

Prevention / Treatment

Check your rabbit twice daily for signs of flystrike, particulary if it suffers from any of the risk factors listed above.  Keep your rabbit's living quarters clean.  During the summer clean out litter trays daily.  Hang fly strips around the cage or hutch.

If you spot signs of flystrike, take your rabbit to the vet immediately.  Pick off any maggots you can see with tweezers.

Flystrike is difficult to treat and may require antibiotics, pain relief and intravenous fluids.  It often results in the death of the rabbit.

There is currently one preventative - a liquid called "Rearguard" which is applied by sponge to the rabbit's fur and protects them for up to 10 weeks.



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