Warning to all rabbit owners. Fly strike.

(54 Posts)
Tortoise Sat 03-Jul-10 16:36:19

I had not heard of this before today. My neighbour put some greens in for our rabbit and guinea and noticed a wet looking patch on the rabbits back end and a few maggots.

Took her to the vets earlier and she has fly strike. Maggots have been eating into the flesh at the back of her. [eww emoticon!] vet said the fly lays eggs in any poo stuck to the back end of the rabbit which then hatch and eat the rabbits flesh. [double eww!]

Just a warning to any rabbit owners who hadn't heard of this. Check your rabbit daily in the hot weather for any sign of maggots, the eggs hatch within hours of being laid. Luckily ours was caught early and should be ok now it is being treated and the vet has picked off the maggots. (I will have to do this too if i find any! As well as rubbing cream onto the bald area)

misdee Sat 03-Jul-10 21:12:57

bumping this.

this is my #1 fear for my bunny. last year she suddenly got a sore on her back. i thought it was fly strike (never seen it before), but as it was dry looking patch with no maggots, the emergency vet said it probably wasnt. turned out to be mites, which was treatable with 3 jabs. but the sore meant she was more suseptable to fly strike until it had healed.

It can potentially kill your rabbits, so do check them daily. Flopsy hates being picked up so i have a good look when she is sunbathing or just being still long enough for me to actually pick her up.

Clean their hutches and runs daily. i put sawdust and paper in the hutch, as she poops in there, and plenty of hay in the run. i sweep it out most says (drier days mean its easier to clean)

misdee Sat 03-Jul-10 21:51:12

bumping as especially important in this v v hot weather.

Tortoise Sat 03-Jul-10 21:56:04

Thanks for Bump misdee.

Bunny is not looking very happy. sad Just went out to check on her. She even let me stroke her which is unusual, she normally hops away.

Hope she will be ok overnight. DD1 and DD2 would be very sad if she died.

misdee Sat 03-Jul-10 22:00:27

i hope she recovers. but do be prepared

my vet asked last summer how flopsy seeme when i called in a panic. i said she seemed fine and was being her usual bonkers self. she said that was good, as flystrike leaves them feeling very poorly.

TheNextMrsDepp Sat 03-Jul-10 22:00:30

Oooh, we have only recently acquired a bunny and are still novices, so I am grateful for any information like this. Tortoise - hope your bun is OK.....
<note to self - must clean out cage tomorrow>

I've seen anti fly strike spray for sale in the pet shop = anyone know if its any good?

Tortoise Sat 03-Jul-10 22:06:07

I need to clean the hutch out too but ran out of sawdust. Will be top of the shopping list on Monday! Guinea pig would be very lonely with out the rabbit.

Don't know about sprays. I have to wash the bunny everyday and pick off any maggots (oh hell, don't know how i will manage that!) Then put cream on. Going to have to shut my Greyhound outside before bringing the rabbbit in though!

misdee Sat 03-Jul-10 22:10:04

clean the hutch now, and put down paper and a layer of towelling. clean it daily.

misdee Sat 03-Jul-10 22:10:27

dealing with flystrike

dooit Sat 03-Jul-10 22:15:59

I made the mistake of washing my bunns dirty bum once. She was caked in poo and I hoped to clean her up and avoid flies. After washing I returned her to her cage to dry off (BIG MISTAKE) and it was a few days later that I noticed she was a little quiet and picked her up for a check over. To my utter horror she was crawling with maggots and to cut a long story short the vet was unable to save her and she was put to sleep. The vet said the absolute worst thing to do is to wash their bums and leave it wet as the warm, wet aroma attracts flies by the dozen and they lay and hatch their eggs before you know it. I still feel terribly guilty to this day.

skyeplusbump Sat 03-Jul-10 22:20:05

can this affect house rabbits? hope your bun feels better soon!

misdee Sat 03-Jul-10 22:20:40

yes it can. just one fly can cause damage.

skyeplusbump Sat 03-Jul-10 22:27:41

oh, so glad i saw this post! i had no idea! thanks guys, will be keeping a sharp eye on flip-flop during the hot weather!

You can get something from the vets to put behind their ears (where they can't reach to lick it) it last 3-4 weeks. I think it is similar to the Stronghold/Frontline stuff you get for cats and dogs. It really works.

Tortoise Sat 03-Jul-10 22:29:37

I think what shocked me from what i read was how quickly the eggs can hatch into maggots.

Will do the hutch tomorrow with paper. May ask my neighbour(the one who spotted it) if they have some spare i can borrow as they have rabbits too.

spacedog Sat 03-Jul-10 22:30:14

Sorry to hear about your bunny, hope she recovers soon. Best tips to avoid flystrike:
Don't let rabbits become overweight- most important
Empty litter trays / clean hutch regularly, even every day in warm weather
Keep them dry, check bums and back daily
Use Flystrike spray from the Vets (it's stronger than the petshop version)
Keep their diet the same, lots of hay, not too much veg / pellets, lots of hay (dry poos good)
Keep rabbits in pairs, will enable better grooming
Leave the spiders and webs in the hutch
Cover the hutch with a mozzie net (personally I don't do this)

misdee Sat 03-Jul-10 22:30:31

larger tescos sell animal bedding.

spacedog Sat 03-Jul-10 22:47:16

Please don't leave the hutch cleaning until Monday. Empty it all out and just line the floor with clean newspaper until you can go to the supermarket. Put a litter tray / old washing up bowl where they wee and fill it with the wood base litter you can get from Morrisons, for example. Personally I don't use any wood shavings as don't like them and mine are all fairly good at using their trays. So just newspaper on the floor and hay in their sleeping compartment. Is much simpler and less messy to sweep out

Tortoise Sat 03-Jul-10 22:57:09

spacedog i will do it tomorrow, promise. smile

No way of getting to any shop which has pet bedding tomorrow. Have newspaper though, and neighbour may have some i can use. Vet saw the hutch and wasn't worried about it being dirty. (He kindly dropped the rabbit home to save me walking all the way to the vets to pick up smile)

I have asked my neighbour not to put lots of greens in as vet said not to. (He comes round and has sort of taken over feeding our rabbit so much so that i never know how much food is being eaten and never sure if we should fill the bowl again or if it has been done. He also takes the bottle back round theirs to fill up if getting low. Which also means i don't know how much water they get through!

misdee Sun 04-Jul-10 07:39:40

try to just give bunny the pellet food and water for now, and some hay. avoid the greens as it causing diaharea if too much which can make the problem worse.

hope bun is ok

Flighttattendant Sun 04-Jul-10 08:11:20

This is so sad, thankyou for the reminder.

Just in case it helps anyone these are my best rabbit keeping tips, to add to the others:

When you get a hutch, line the floor with an offcut of vinyl. This needs to be glued down properly with an acrylic floor tile glue or similar, so nothing gets under it.

It makes cleaning out really simple as nothing soaks into the wood and basically it never gets saturated or anything - always a dry floor for them.

This is best when combined with a litter tray. We have a large one in our large hutch, for 3 rabbits, and they are brilliant at using it. I put wood shavings in that and just a few shavings and some hay in the rest.

The main floor rarely needs cleaning out, every few weeks really, though the tray obv gets wet and yukky every couple of days. Just empty out (into compost or bin), rinse out under outdoor tap and refill with shavings. Simple.

lastly I don't know if this theory holds out, but we have three rabbits together and they seem often to clean each other's bottoms. Therefore I feel it might be an extra precaution against nasty build up of poo or whatever.

And never feed your rabbit lettuce, it's really not good for them and will give them diarrhoea. Ours have standard pellets from farm supplier and greens or carrot or apple. They are never runny.

Hope your rabbit recovers, Tortoise.

Tortoise Sun 04-Jul-10 09:06:47

Well, Fudge is still alive. Not sure if it has been near the food bowl or water. She let me pick her up with nearly no fuss sad
Not sure what to do.

Lizcat Sun 04-Jul-10 09:56:29

There are two really excellent proucts on the market that help to prevent fly strike:-

Xenex spot -on you apply the drops according to body weight every 2 weeks to the back of the rabbits neck.

Rearguard - like a shoe polish applicator. You use the entire applicator for one rabbit wiping all around the bum area and this lasts 10 weeks.

All rabbits pass two different types of poos each 24 hour period. During the day they pass the hard pellets - faeces - that you find in the cage. At night they pass soft caecotrophs which normal rabbits eat as these provide the good bacteria for the caecum of the rabbit to ferment all that fibre. Some rabbits do not eat their caecotrophs either because they can't get to their bottoms because they are over weigh or have health problems like arthritis or spondylosis in their back and some rabbits never learnt to eat their caecotrophs. If your rabbit has these soft faeces collecting around their bum they should be cleaned away at least daily and ideally be syringe fed to the rabbit.
Final rabbit tip 90% of the rabbits diet should be hay or grass long fibre to keep the calcium and phosphorus ratio correct to give good dental health. The other 10% should come from fresh veg and rabbit food if you feed the museli type the rabbit should finish everything in the bowl before you top it up as like children they tend to leave the bits that are most important to their health.

These are my top tips as a bunny keeping vet, who regularly attends meetings with the Gods of bunny keeping Francis Harcourt Brown, Anna Meredith and Sharon Redrobe.

beautifulgirls Sun 04-Jul-10 10:11:36

Tortoise - if your rabbit is not eating you need to seek urgent veterinary advice today. Not eating can kill a rabbit. Your vet should be able supply you with a liquid food to give by syringe or pipette until she is doing better. Certain medications may also be prescribed to help the gut to start moving properly as rabbits are prone to develop ileus - that means the gut doesn't move properly to push the food along.

This is URGENT.

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