We have a soft spot for rabbits at Melton Vets, so we thought we’d mention Rabbit Awareness Week. This annual event promotes rabbit health and wellbeing.
Rabbits are the 4th most popular pet in the UK and no wonder, they are intelligent, fascinating to watch and easy to litter train, but like all pets they need the best care and attention from us if they are to thrive.
Flystrike is a common, extremely distressing and often fatal disease which predominantly occurs in the summer.
It most commonly occurs when the rabbit’s rear end becomes soiled with faeces and/or urine. This attracts flies which lay eggs on damaged skin or on the soiled fur. These eggs then hatch into maggots that eat away at the tissues in the surrounding area and release toxins which makes the rabbit unwell.
The problem, if left untreated, can get so bad that the maggots reach the rabbit’s abdomen, causing so much suffering that the rabbit has to be put to sleep. If you spot any signs of flystrike on your pet, such as eggs or maggots, please contact us immediately.
You can prevent flystrike by:
• Keeping housing clean and dry.
• Feeding the correct high fibre diet to make sure they eat all of their caecotrophs (see our diet section for more information)
• Checking your pet thoroughly for signs of illness, injury or abnormal behaviour every day, and in warm weather checking the fur and skin around your pets’ rear end and tail area, at least twice a day.
• Removing any wet or soiled bedding every day.
• Keeping rabbits active and healthy – obese rabbits may be too big to clean themselves effectively or to eat their caecotrophs (which then build up around their rear end).