What is flystrike in rabbits & Guinea Pigs?
Flystrike is a common, extremely distressing and often fatal disease which predominantly occurs in warm weather, usually between April and October.
It most commonly occurs when the Rabbit or Guinea Pig’s rear end becomes soiled with faeces and/or urine. This attracts the fly Lucilia sericata, or a green bottle fly, which lay eggs on damaged skin or on the soiled fur.
Each fly can lay up to 200 eggs on the skin at the rear end of an animal which then hatch into maggots within hours and grow by feeding on flesh. The maggots can very quickly eat away large areas of tissue around the bottom, tail, belly and back.
What are the symptoms of flystrike?
Initially the Rabbit or Guinea Pig may just look quiet, it’s extremely important to check your pet’s fur and rear end area daily for any signs of maggots. As the maggots grow and eat away more surface area of the skin, this can be extremely distressing and often fatal.
If you spot any signs of flystrike on your pet, such as eggs or maggots in their fur, seek urgent veterinary advice.
What simple things can I do to prevent flystrike?
It only takes a small amount of soiling within the fur for the flies to strike. Rabbits & Guinea Pigs who cannot groom themselves effectively due to obesity and long fur are at greater risk.
Checking your pet’s rear end at least twice a day will help to detect infestation early. Using a flystrike treatment spray to prevent any outbreaks is crucial, we stock the Beaphar Small Animal Fly Strike Guard Spray.
This is a veterinary strength spray that is applied directly to your pet’s fur, containing an insect growth regulator which gives protection against fly strike for up to 3 months.
Also ensuring that your Rabbit or Guinea Pig’s housing environment is cleaned regularly, daily during the summer months and replacing damp or soiled bedding with clean and dry bedding material.
Using a Red Top Fly Catcher Bag is an excellent way of keeping flies away from your pets. Simply hang this easy to use fly trap at least 15m away from the area to be protected (to intercept the flies on their way in), 2m high and in direct sunlight. Each 3 litre trap comes with powdered bait (which is mixed with 1 litre of luke-warm water to activate it) and full instructions.
Once in position, the bait will continue working for at least 12 weeks (sometimes longer) and will catch up to 20,000 flies. Once full, the dead flies can be tipped onto the compost heap or buried in a hole in the garden and the plastic recycled. The trap requires heat and ultra-violet light to activate, so it works most efficiently during the warmer months between May and September, when flies are at their most prolific.
This product has been designed to be environmentally friendly, it will not attract bees, butterflies and other beneficial insects, and its scent is designed to target only flies in particular targeting female flies breaking the breeding cycle.