This time of year pet rabbits face a common and life threatening disease that can strike within hours. It is maggots, or rather, being ‘fly blown’. Flies are looking for somewhere to lay their eggs which will hatch out into maggots. A rabbit’s dirty bottom is the ideal place! A lot of pet rabbits are slightly overweight, often inactive and their personal hygiene in the bottom area may be lacking.
Maggots hatch within hours and start to eat the faecal matter, then continue to burrow through the rabbit’s skin eating it up, particularly in the folds around a rabbits bottom. This causes the rabbits a lot of distress and releases toxins which can prove fatal to the bunny. This can all happen very quickly, so you can check your rabbit and he/she will be fine in the morning but by the time you get in at night it can all of happened.
If you find your rabbit fly blown, it needs treatment as fast as possible. We clip and clean the area, give it a good wash and kill any remaining maggots. Even with prompt treatment some rabbits will not survive and many need several days aftercare to recover from the shock and toxic effects of the maggots.
How can you prevent this terrible condition? Well there are four ways:
1 Make sure your bunny has a clean cage and bedding as well as freedom to move around a large area.
2 Inspect your rabbits hind end at least TWICE A DAY. You must do this even if you are using other methods as well.
3 Use a fly repellent, you can hang repellent strips around your rabbits cage (where they can’t be eaten!) or there is a product called RearGuard which you put onto your rabbits fur, it lasts for 6 weeks. Alternatively you can keep your rabbit indoors
4 There is a spray, F10, which kills flies that land on the rabbit, it is used once a week.