Darren discusses fly strike prevention for rabbits and guinea pigs

April 10, 2024

In this article, Vet Darren Partridge discusses the dangers of deadly fly strike, a condition that affects rabbits and guinea pigs, and warns owners of small pets in Surrey to be extra vigilant this spring and summer.

Why is fly strike so dangerous?

Fly strike, also referred to as myiasis, arises when flies deposit eggs on the fur or skin of an animal, which hatch into maggots that then consume the animal’s tissue. Left untreated, this condition can rapidly become life-threatening. Keep reading as Darren explores strategies for averting fly strike and offers guidance on actions to take if you suspect your rabbit or guinea pig may be affected.

Contact us about fly strike


How to prevent flystrike

  1. Maintain clean living conditions: Vet Darren Partridge explains that the key to preventing fly strike is to keep your pet’s living environment clean and dry. Regularly remove soiled bedding and faeces from cages or hutches, and provide fresh, dry bedding material to help minimise the attraction of flies.
  2. Check your pet regularly: Perform daily health checks on your rabbits and guinea pigs, paying close attention to areas where flies are likely to lay eggs, such as around the tail, hindquarters, and genitals. Look for signs of fly eggs (small white or yellow dots) or maggots, as well as any signs of skin irritation or inflammation. If you notice anything like this, contact our team at Molesey Vets on 0208 979 1384. straight away.
  3. Protective measures: Darren suggests using fly screens or protective covers on outdoor enclosures to help keep flies away from your pets. You can also use pet-safe insect repellents or fly strike prevention products – ask our team at our Molesey vet practice for their recommendations.
  4. Regular grooming: This can help keep your pet’s fur clean and free from mats or tangles, which can attract flies. Pay special attention to long-haired breeds, as they may be more prone to developing fly strike.

Watch for these 4 Signs of Fly strike

If fly strike does occur in your rabbit or guinea pig, early detection and intervention are crucial for your pet’s survival. Darren shares the four signs to watch for below:

  1. Unpleasant odour: Fly strike often emits a strong, unpleasant odour resulting from maggots consuming flesh. Should you detect an unusual smell coming from your pet’s habitat, it might indicate fly strike.
  2. Reduced appetite: Fly strike can induce pain and discomfort, resulting in reduced appetite among affected animals.
  3. Lack of energy: Afflicted rabbits or guinea pigs may exhibit lethargy and reluctance to engage in movement or eating due to discomfort and pain.
  4. Visible maggots or wounds: Should you observe maggots or open wounds on your pet’s skin, Darren advises seeking immediate veterinary attention. Refrain from attempting to remove the maggots yourself, as it may cause further harm to your pet.


Call us in an Emergency:

If you suspect your rabbit or guinea pig has fly strike, it’s crucial to act quickly. Contact our team at Molesey Vets immediately for emergency veterinary care by calling 0208 979 1384.

Fly strike is a serious condition that requires prompt, professional treatment to remove the maggots, clean the affected area, and provide supportive care to the affected pet. Sadly however, a high proportion of fly strike cases require euthanasia to stop the animal from suffering.

Remember, prevention is always best when it comes to fly strike. By taking proactive measures to keep your pet’s living environment clean and minimising their exposure to flies, you can help reduce the risk of this potentially deadly condition. If you have any questions or concerns about fly strike prevention or treatment, don’t hesitate to contact us for guidance. We’re here to help you keep your rabbits and guinea pigs safe and healthy.

Contact us about fly strike

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