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4 Things Rabbit Owners Need To Know About Fly Strike

Fly strike is a serious disease that can affect your pet rabbit. It occurs when flies lay eggs beneath your rabbit's skin. When the eggs hatch and turn into maggots, they begin eating your furry friend. Here are four things you need to know about this scary disease.

What are the signs of fly strike?

The signs of fly strike can be easy to miss. The only clue that something is wrong may be that your rabbit isn't interested in their food, water, or toys anymore. If your rabbit seems depressed, take them to the vet right away because this is never a good sign.

If you look closely, you may be able to see the eggs or maggots on your rabbit. The eggs look like tiny yellow seeds and the maggots look like small, white worms. You may also be able to see burrowed canals in your rabbit's body where the larvae have been tunneling and feeding.

How serious is it?

Fly strike is a very serious problem for rabbits. Rabbits with fly strike can die in as little as 72 hours, so you need to seek treatment for your pet right away if you notice any of the signs. If left untreated, the larvae will continue to release toxins into your rabbit's body as they feed, and these toxins will eventually lead to shock.

How is it treated?

Your vet will need to remove the maggots from your rabbit's body. This is accomplished by plucking them out with tweezers. Once the maggots have been removed, your vet will clean your pet's wounds to remove bacteria and debris. Supportive treatments like intravenous fluids or painkillers may be required to help your rabbit get comfortable and heal.

How can you prevent it?

You can prevent fly strike by making sure that your rabbit's enclosure isn't attractive to flies. Flies are attracted to moisture, warmth, and odor. Sources of excess moisture include water bottles that drip or leak or urine-soaked bedding. Odor may be caused by urine or feces. Keep these fly attractants under control by replacing or repairing leaky water bottles and changing the bedding on a frequent schedule.

Overweight rabbits are at risk of getting fly strike as it's harder for them to clean themselves. If your rabbit is overweight, talk to your vet about your pet's diet.

If you think your rabbit has fly strike, take them to an animal hospital immediately. This condition can be fatal to rabbits, but with prompt treatment, your pet should be fine.