August is time for sun, sea and holidays. It is also the time for flies. They plague us and we have seen a huge number in the last few weeks with conditions suiting them perfectly. Unfortunately hygiene risks aren’t the only problem with these irritating creatures. Their purpose in the great scheme of life is to aid in the break down of dead meat matter and rotten food. Sadly they don’t always wait for their meal to die. If they find an open wound or recumbent animal they will try to get a jump on it. This comes with terrible and gruesome consequences.
Most commonly fly strike is seen in sheep and, all too often, pet rabbits. It can affect any vulnerable animal though. Rabbits are particularly at risk as their husbandry isn’t always up to scratch, a rabbit allowed to grow fat and on a poor diet that produces sticky soft faeces will be a very attractive prospective host for the flies to lay their eggs on. It can take just hours for the eggs to hatch and maggots to start dining. A rabbit confined in a hutch that isn’t checked often can quickly suffer a horrible fate.
Please check your rabbits’ backsides at least twice a day. Get them to a vet for a weight and health check twice annually. There are also long-acting repellents available which are very useful for keeping bunny safe. Netting hutches and giving bunny plenty of time outside, and ensuring a good diet are also very important. Hutches and runs should kept very clean and any soft faeces seen, particularly on bunnies bottom, should be bathed off. Helping your small flurries stay cool can be challenging, a great tip is to freeze a bottle of water and place this in the hutch. Please don’t let your rabbit suffer a terrible fate.
Alice England RVN.