Flies, mozzies and other nasties
The start of summer has been warm and wet, which is unfortunately is perfect weather for nasty bugs. This means that we are seeing a lot of flystrike at the moment.
Flystrike occurs when flies are attracted to abnormal smells (urine, faeces or damp skin) and lay their eggs in the rabbit or guinea pig’s coat. These eggs hatch into maggots which eat away at the skin, causing irritation, stress and infection (which can cause our furry friends to go into toxic shock). It is common in warmer months in outdoor rabbits and guinea pigs who are having difficulty keeping themselves clean around their back end. Flystrike very rarely occurs in healthy rabbits or guinea pigs and is usually secondary to an underlying health or husbandry issue, which may need further investigation or advice from a vet.
Common causes of flystrike include:
- Arthritic issues
restricting ability to clean, groom or posture properly for urination, or restricting movement so that rabbits sit in their urine or in damp spots
- Weight issues
overweight rabbits may have difficulty reaching to clean around their back end, or may have fat rolls which trap urine or faeces
- Urinary issues
kidney dysfunction, bladder infections or sludge can cause abnormal urination, leading to urine scalding which attracts flies
- Neurological issues
the rabbit parasite EC and other neurological lesions can cause a lack of fine nervous control required to posture properly for urination, resulting in a buildup around the back end
- Poor diet
high pellet/mix diets may result in wetter faeces, which sticks to the fur and causes faecal mats
- Poor husbandry
wet cages with infrequently changed litter/substrate can build up urine and attract flies, and will soak into rabbit hair if they sit in the dampness
We recommend any patients having difficulty with cleanliness see a vet for investigation or advice to reduce the likelihood of flystrike.
Please contact a vet as soon as possible if you notice any maggots on your pet! Rabbits and guinea pigs need to be seen quickly before too much damage is done, and acting fast can prevent discomfort and distress.
The warm wet weather is also perfect breeding weather for mosquitoes and fleas. In addition to being an itchy nuisance these bugs can carry diseases which are fatal to bunnies. Rabbits are susceptible to both myxomatosis and calicivirus (rabbit haemorrhagic disease) which can be passed by biting insects. Please ensure your bunnies are up to date with their calicivirus vaccines to protect them from this disease, and ensure all outside environments are protected from mosquitoes by flyscreens. We also recommend keeping outdoor or indoor/outdoor bunnies inside during high-risk mosquito times such as morning and evening, after rain, or if you live close to standing water sources.
We are moving, not closing! If you’ve been around the clinic recently you may have noticed some rental signs up in front of it. Come January we are moving down the road to a place of our very own.
Our new clinic is only a short drive from where we are now and is located off Dorset Road, on the corner of Alma Avenue and Austin Street. Stay tuned for more moving news!
It’s holiday sale time here at Melbourne Rabbit Clinic! Our cubes are currently half price ($20 for 16 sides), meaning it’s now super cheap to build your furry friends a new house for the holidays. Cubes are super versatile building materials for indoor enclosures, check www.boingonline.com or google search ‘bunny condos’ for inspiration and advice.
Freddy models our clinic cube condo
Also on sale are our Fun Links, brightly coloured plastic links for throwing and shaking, and we have a whole bunch of exciting new Oxbow dried herb mixes in stock (new to Australia!). Drop in to check out our new ranges!
Finally, we’re still collecting entries for our Holiday Hamper Raffle, and we have three hampers full of fun toys and tasty treats to give away come the end of the year.
All bunnies and guinea pigs coming in for a consult at MRC in the next few months are eligible to a free entry to the draw.