Fly Strike

This is another potentially deadly threat to rabbits that is more common during the warmer months. House flies are attracted to odors such as urine, feces and diseased or infected areas on a rabbit. The fly will search out a warm, moist place to lay their eggs; though, they can lay their eggs anywhere on your bun. Once this happens, it takes 8 – 12 hours for the eggs to hatch into maggots. They then consume the diseased and/or soiled areas on the surface. Once this food source is exhausted, they begin burrowing into the animal and feeding off their healthy tissue while releasing a toxin that will eventually lead to shock in the rabbit. Sick, disabled, wet, injured and obese rabbits are at a higher risk for this infliction, but all rabbits should be checked at least daily and more frequently if they spend time outside.

Bot Flies are another type of fly that also lay their eggs on or near where rabbits dwell. The eggs look like tiny yellow seeds attached to the rabbit’s individual hairs. The seeds (eggs) are then opened by the animal cleaning the infested hair or by brushing up against the eggs. The larvae then begin burrowing into the rabbit and grow much larger than the Housefly maggots. This larva has the appearance of being a mass and is referred to as a warble tumor. They release toxins like the Housefly larvae. Unlike the common Housefly, Bot Flies are attracted to the rabbit itself rather than odors. Fatal damage from Fly Strike can occur in as little as 72 hours.

Signs to watch for:

  • Listlessness
  • Small patches of off-white mush on fur
  • Tiny yellow seeds
  • Maggots on skin and in hair
  • Burrowed canal(s) into the rabbit

If your bunny has fly strike

What should you do if you discover your rabbit has Fly Strike? First off, remove every maggot and egg you can find. Tweezers work good for the maggots (you must kill them once removed) and a flea comb works well with the egg removal. Do not try and remove a Bot Fly maggot yourself. Be sure and check the rabbit ALL over for them, as they can be anywhere! Next, get your rabbit to a vet immediately; this is an emergency situation!

Click on link below to get more information provided by the Rabbit House Society, a great place for all sort of information regarding rabbits.

More information regarding fly strike