Fly Strike

This is a horrible but often preventable condition. It is where rabbits bottoms get dirty, the flies are attracted to the area and lay their eggs around the rabbit’s bottom.  These look like tiny grains of cream rice. They are very sticky and often need to be cut or clipped out – we can do this for you. Within a matter of hours the eggs will hatch into maggots. These will then proceed to eat your rabbit’s bottom!

This is a condition that causes a lot of pain and suffering and can cause the rabbit to go into shock. Rabbits do not cope with shock well and this can often prove to be fatal. Maggots can often go in to the vulva or anus and cause severe damage internally.

So the question is – how do we prevent this condition?

In a lot of cases it can be prevented. Rabbits have two types of faeces. The first are called caecotrophs and these are soft shiny poos. These tend to be the ones that stick to their bottoms. A ‘normal’ rabbit should eat these. This is very important for normal digestion but also for their hygiene. Often the question is why are they not eating their poos?

This can be for several reasons, the most common are:-

  1. Dental problems – if they have any sort of sore mouth, overgrown front or back teeth then often the first signs are not keeping themselves clean. It hurts them to do so, so they don’t.
  2. Arthritis – with the advent of pellet foods and routine neutering rabbits are living much longer than in the past. The consequence of this is that we are seeing age related conditions. Rabbits often get arthritis of the hips and spine (especially the giant breeds). Again in order to get to their bottom they have to twist and this can cause pain, therefore they would rather not do it. If rabbits do have arthritis we are able to provide glucosamine and chondroitin supplements or non-steroidal anti inflammatory drugs depending on what is required.
  3. Obesity – A lot of rabbits are overweight, either because; they are fed muesli diets and therefore pick out the nice bits and leave the rest, just plain old over feeding or lack of exercise. The main bulk of any rabbit diet should be hay and grass. Any commercial diet is an added extra.