Watch out for soggy bottoms!

Tadpole, the dog that featured in our last blog, is making a very good recovery on his antibiotics and anti-inflammatories. He has now stopped coughing and is running around again – hopefully not in barley fields! See our last blog ‘A Seedy Tale’.

With the onset of wet, humid weather there is an increased risk of blow fly strike. While fly strike is generally more common in pets that are kept outdoors in hutches and runs, house pets are by no means immune to the condition.

Fly strike is most commonly seen in rabbits but can also occur in guinea pigs and poultry too. It occurs when the fur and skin around the back end of the pet becomes wet for some reason, such as damp weather, urine scald or diarrhoea. This attracts bluebottle flies which lay eggs around the rear quarters of the animal.

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The eggs quickly hatch into maggots which then eat away at the skin and flesh. Eventually, toxins are released into the blood stream and the pet becomes very ill and dehydrated. At this point, the outcome is usually very poor and euthanasia is often the only option.

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To prevent this from happening, we advise regularly checking that your pets bottom is clean and dry, ideally twice a day. If you find that it is damp for any reason please clean and dry it, then bring your pet to the vet to discuss the cause of any urine scald or diarrhoea.

Fly eggs look like small grains of rice and if found, should be removed. If any maggots are present these should be picked off and your pet brought to the vet to see if medical attention is needed.

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The disease can progress very quickly – within 24 hours of the eggs being laid, they can hatch and the maggots can start feeding on the skin. It is therefore important that you act quickly in these circumstances otherwise your pet may literally be eaten alive!

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We can provide you with barrier creams and sprays that deter the flies from landing on your pets and laying eggs. Examples include  ‘F10 Insecticidal and Germicidal Wound Spray’ to be sprayed onto the area weekly for prevention of fly strike in rabbits, poultry and other small furries.

Alternatively, ‘Rearguard’ is a solution (only licensed for use in rabbits) which is sponged onto the back end of the rabbit. This product gives protection for 8-10 weeks.

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You may also consider using fine mesh netting over the wire of your rabbits hutch or run, to minimise the chances of flies being able to get in.

Fly strike is a veterinary emergency and can become serious and even fatal very quickly. Our vets and nurses are available 24/7 if you are unfortunate enough to find your pet in need of medical assistance.

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