Flystrike - What you need to know.
Updated: Mar 9
Even though we have our bunnies indoors, we still want to ensure they are nice and cool. Bunnies do not tolerate heat very well and can die from being overheated! Every rabbit handles heat differently, so be sure to know what your bunny's normal behavior is.
One of my greatest fears with my bunnies in the summer is Flystrike (Myiasis). We keep our home generally bug free, except the occasional spider. Flies are my worst enemy inside the house. If you are connected with me on my bunny's Facebook page: Kai's Warren (https://www.facebook.com/Kais-Warren-1574773872793387/) you know I have a couple of disabled bunnies. I have Kai, a Holland Lop, who is blind and deaf, and I have Zephyr, a Fuzzy Lop, who is missing an eye, is deaf, and has some neurological issues. Zephyr is not the best at using his litter box or eating his butt gummies (cecotropes) as he should. He also has unruly fur, sometimes creating a messy bottom, which makes him a prime target for flies.
What is Flystrike? It is when a fly lay their eggs on a rabbits skin, primarily around the bottom. The eggs quickly hatch and maggots chew their way into the bunny's skin. This can quickly become fatal! Any rabbit is at risk for flystrike, however those more prone to it would be those with dirty bottoms, wet fur, or wounds. Flies are attracted by damp, smelly conditions, so please ensure you are cleaning your litter boxes regularly. Especially during the summer! It is recommended to check your bunny's bottom frequently and every time you pick them up.
What if my bunny is suffering from Flystrike? Do not try to clean the bunny yourself. Take them to an emergency vet immediately! This is a serious life/death situation that needs immediate attention. Do not dunk the rabbit in water as the vet will need to shave the affected area, wet fur will just clog the clippers. I cannot stress enough that this needs to be looked at by a vet, immediately.
How do I prevent Flystrike?
- Ensure that your bunny is eating a healthy diet and producing healthy, non-runny poops.
- Keep a clean pen and litter box. Clean/disinfect any soiled areas.
- Check your bunny's bottom as often as you are able.
- Hang fly sticky paper in the areas where your bunny is, just in case!
I hope everyone has a safe summer!