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13 Jun 2018

A reminder from Blake Vets on Fly Strike Alert Rabbits

A reminder from Blake Vets on Fly Strike Alert Rabbits
A reminder from Blake Vets on Fly Strike Alert Rabbits

 We are entering the high risk period for fly strike in rabbits.

Risk Factors for Fly Strike:

A study has recently been carried out by the University of Liverpool and they found that:

  • Unneutered female rabbits were 3 times more likely to present with fly strike than neutered female rabbits.
  • Rabbits 5 years or older, were almost 4 times more likely to present with fly strike than younger rabbits.
  • For every 1C rise in temperature between 4.5C and 17.5C there was a 33% increase in incidences of fly strike, with peak times occurring in the months of July and August.
  • Cases of fly strike were more prevalent in the southern parts of Great Britain.

Fly strike represents a significant welfare problem for what is the third most popular pet in the UK.

The green bottle fly is the main culprit in the UK and the perineum (bottom) of the rabbit is the area most affected. Flies lay their eggs on matted faeces, or on damp urine soaked fur. Within 2-3 days these eggs hatch into maggots which are what then cause damage to the skin and surrounding tissues.

What can you do to prevent fly strike in your rabbit?

Understanding which rabbits are more likely to get fly strike should allow you as an owner to be more aware of the problem and be vigilant in checking your rabbits.

  • All rabbits should be checked thoroughly twice a day, particularly in the high risk periods of May, June, July and August.
  • Clean hutches regularly and consider hanging fly papers around the hutches as long as your rabbit can’t come into contact with them.
  • Ensure your rabbit is being fed an appropriate diet – see our article Optimal Rabbit Diets. Poor diet is the main cause of faecal matting.
  • Any matted faeces should be washed off immediately and the fur dried thoroughly.
  • Any urine soaked fur should be washed and dried.


With either of the above, it would be advisable to contact your veterinary surgeon as medical reasons are often the cause of faecal and urine matting on the fur.

Products are available that can be applied to your rabbits fur to help prevent fly strike in those high risk bunnies such as Rearguard.




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