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Flystrike Alert: Protecting rabbits & guinea pigs in North London

Flystrike Alert: Protecting rabbits & guinea pigs in North London

April 21, 2024

Pet owners in North London need to be vigilant this spring about protecting their rabbits and guinea pigs from a potentially deadly threat: flystrike, warns Vet Albert Moussafir.

What is flystrike?

Flystrike, also known as myiasis, occurs when flies lay eggs on an animal’s fur or skin, which then hatch into maggots that feed on the animal’s flesh. This condition can quickly escalate into a life-threatening situation if left untreated. In this article, Albert discusses how to prevent flystrike and what to do if you suspect your rabbit or guinea pig is affected.

Contact us about flystrike

Four ways to prevent deadly flystrike

  1. Maintain clean living conditions: According to vet Albert Moussafir, the key to preventing flystrike 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 The Vet Whetstone on 020 8368 9798 straight away.
  3. Protective measures: Albert 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 Whetstone 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 flystrike.

Recognising the 4 Signs of Flystrike

If flystrike does occur, early detection and intervention are crucial for your pet’s survival. Albert lists the four signs to watch for below:

  1. Foul odour: Flystrike often produces a strong, foul odour due to the presence of maggots feeding on the flesh. If you notice an unusual smell coming from your pet’s enclosure, it could be a sign of flystrike.
  2. Loss of appetite: Flystrike can cause pain and discomfort, leading to a loss of appetite in affected animals.
  3. Lethargy: Infected rabbits or guinea pigs may become lethargic and unwilling to move or eat due to pain and discomfort.
  4. Visible maggots or wounds: If you see maggots or open wounds on your pet’s skin, Albert advises that you should seek veterinary care immediately. Do not attempt to remove the maggots yourself, as this can cause further injury to your pet.

Call us in an Emergency:

If you suspect your rabbit or guinea pig has flystrike, it’s crucial to act quickly. Contact our team at The Vet Whetstone immediately for emergency veterinary care by calling 020 8368 9798.

Flystrike 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 flystrike cases require euthanasia to stop the animal from suffering.

Remember, prevention is always best when it comes to flystrike. 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 flystrike 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 flystrike

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