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Fly Strike: What is it?

June 01, 2019 2 min read 0 Comments

Fly Strike: What is it?

The weather is warming up and the flies are on their way. But how do you protect your animals from the horrible effects of flystrike? The correct term for flystrike is 'Myiasis,' a fly will lay its eggs on the animal then they will hatch into maggots. (Blowflies, bluebottles and green bottles are the most dangerous.) They will feed on your animal and if not caught in time it can cause serious danger to your animal.

Is my animal at risk?

It is very common in rabbits and sheep. Very close attention should be given to any animal that has open wounds and unable to clean themselves properly for reasons such as being overweight or injury. Animals on inappropriate diets are also at a higher risk.

However, a very healthy and clean animal is still prone to fly strike and should be monitored during the warmer months.

Does my animal have flystrike?

It is extremely important to spot flystrike quickly, Knowing the signs of flystrike can help you catch it early.

Is your animal:

  • Lethargic? (lying around, not energetic)
  • Refusing food and drink?
  • Digging corners in their hutch/cage?
  • Acting abnormally in the warmer weather?

Another way to tell is if there is a strong smell coming from their hutch/cage and of course if there are maggots present.


Prevention is better than cure. Flystrike can be very uncomfortable and painful for your animal so below are ways to help you keep your animal safe from the flies this summer.

It is important to understand your animals' behaviour, it is easier to spot differences when you are daily health checking your animal, this can help with catching problems faster as well. Check your animals rear and tail frequently throughout the day in the warmer weather, cleaning it immediately with warm water if necessary and dry thoroughly. In some cases, you may need to clip the fur.

Keep toilet areas clean and change the housing bedding at least once a week. Keeping the animal at the correct weight and neutering females. Use netting to insect-proof hutches. 


Like most conditions, you should take the animal to the vets if you are seeing the symptoms above. However, it could happen at a time when you are unable to get a vet.

Using tweezers gently pick off as many maggots as you can. Encourage the maggots that have burrowed into his skin to come to the surface with a warm damp towel.

Be careful not to soak the animal as this can cause the vets' clippers to clog when they shave the infected areas.

Get a vet to see the animal as soon as possible as there may still be some left and they often need antibiotics to prevent infection.

As long as you are daily health checking, have them on a healthy diet and keeping them clean, there should be nothing to worry about. Although, it is helpful to know what to do in times of crisis.

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Read about how to prevent your rabbit from overheating here:

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