Myiasis is the scientific term for an infestation of a wound with maggots. They grow from eggs that are laid by flies attracted to smelly and inflamed skin. This typically occurs around the rabbit’s tail and bottom, especially if the rabbit has diarrhoea.
The maggots can quite quickly feed on the tissues around and under the wound causing a lot of discomfort. In the early stages the maggots can be removed and with our help we may be able to repair the damage. If left, however, the skin and tissues beneath become so damaged that the rabbit cannot be saved and euthanasia is the only remaining option.
The condition is preventable and prevention relies on the owner checking the rabbit daily.
- The bedding must be kept dry- check for a dripping water bottle, keep toileting areas clean and ensure rain water is not able to enter the hutch. Check the bedding daily and have a thorough bedding change every week.
- Check around the rabbit’s bottom – rabbits normally produce firm droppings and eat the soft ones (caecotrophs) passed overnight. Rabbits with diarrhoea should be taken to the vet for attention.
- Avoid feeding vegetables with a high moisture content. Rabbits do very well fed on hay and compressed grass/herbage pellets, so long as they have sufficient access to fresh water. No other food supplements should be necessary.
- Some rabbits may be damp around their bottoms if they lose control of urination. This causes a skin soreness similar to nappy-rash in babies. These rabbits will also need prompt veterinary attention
- Fly prevention – at the surgery we sell products that repel flies from the rabbit. This product is available as a part of the Healthy Pet Club Scheme.