Myasis (Fly Strike) - A Summer Problem in Rabbits
During the warmer weather, when green and blue bottle flies hatch rabbits are at risk. These flies will seek out dirty places, notably the anal region where the faeces or urine has collected. They lay eggs there and in about 24 hours the maggots hatch and begin to feed on the body of the rabbit. It is absolutely horrific and the prognosis is not good unless discovered and treated in the early stages. There are, however, certain precautions, which can be taken to help prevent the problem.
Hygiene: This is of the utmost importance, especially during the warmer weather. Hutches should be cleaned out thoroughly at least once a week, with the dirty corners being done twice weekly. A spray such as "Dynamite" is quite effective as it deters flies.
Overweight Rabbits: If rabbits are too fat they cannot easily reach to clean round the anal area. All rabbits should be examined twice a week and the dirty areas cleaned with an antiseptic solution, e.g. savlon.
Fly Killers: These could be employed. If the rabbits are kept inside a shed it will be easier to control flies than if they are situated in outside hutches or runs. Insectocutors and flypapers may be used. Sprays of fresh lavender are also useful since flies hate the smell.
Lavender: Lavender talc may be sprinkled on the rabbits around the anal area in the summer.
If you see a rabbit sitting unhappily at the back of the hutch, look at the anal area. If this is dirty it is best to assume the worst. Make up a solution of Savlon in warm water in a bowl and sit the rabbit in the bowl for a minute. If a longhaired variety, cut the fur off close to the skin. If the maggots are present you may see one or two wriggling out. Using tweezers (with great care) to remove any visible maggots and ensure that the whole of the maggot is removed. If the skin is broken or badly damaged apply some antiseptic cream or powder.
There is a preparation called Negasunt powder, which you can obtain from your Vet. The maggots soon burrow deep into the body of the rabbit and usually do so much damage that the animal cannot be saved, so it is far better to try and prevent the problem than to try and treat it.
IF IN DOUBT, CONSULT YOUR VET.