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Fly Strike And Other Nasty Things To Avoid

Sometimes raising animals comes with less than fun situations.  Fly strike in rabbits qualifies as one of those nasty type of things that we can do our best to prevent, but may find ourselves facing one day.  Ear mites are another common ailment you may need to deal with in your rabbitry.  Obviously prevention is the best method.  But even if you have healthy rabbits, it’s a good idea to be aware of what to do when problems occur.

Fly strike and ear mites in rabbits can be a real disaster. Here's how to prevent and treat them just in case your rabbitry is affected.

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How To Discourage Fly Strike In Rabbits

Fly strike occurs when flies lay their eggs on the rabbit and then the maggots start burrowing IN to eat.  (Yeah.  It makes my stomach heave just thinking about it).  The first way to discourage fly strike is by discouraging flies.  Try to keep things tidy and cleaned up.  Composting rabbit manure, keep cages clean and free of fecal matter will help.  Or if you have a colony, keep the deep litter system well maintained.

Any rabbit that has diarrhea or an otherwise wet or messy bottom will also be highly at risk.  The damp hindquarters is like an open invitation for flies to stop by.  Keep a close eye on your rabbits for potential health issues and make sure they are clean and dry.  (Damp rabbits are kind of a disaster.  Not to mention unhappy).

How to Treat Fly Strike In Rabbits

If your poor rabbits do end up with an issue, the faster you treat it the better.  You can take your rabbits to the vet, if you have a vet that treats rabbits.  If not, solution is to use tweezers and (literally), pick out the maggots.   (Have fun with that).  A flea comb will help remove any eggs, and shaving the rabbits hindquarters and applying heat should make it easier to get all the maggots.  Antibiotics will probably be a good idea too.  Given that this WILL be fatal and painful for your rabbit, do your best to get them to the vet as quickly as possible.

How To Discourage Ear Mites in Rabbits

Ear mites can happen to all rabbits, although they are more likely in rabbits raised on the ground.  They are passed from rabbit to rabbit, although rabbits house separately in hutches can sometimes get them too.  Overcrowding can cause problems with ear mites spreading.  Stress can leave your rabbits more susceptible as well.  In general, taking good care of your rabbits and keeping them healthy in other ways will discourage ear mites from taking hold.

The first signs of ear mites are headshaking or ear scratching, because the mites start lower in the ear canal where it’s hard to see them.  Once it’s visible to you, you may notice brown build up, or crusty gunk, or even a bad odor.  The crusty gunk can fall out of the ears with the live mites on it and infect other rabbits, so separate anyone who is affected as soon as possible.  Also, rabbits can get ear mites from their environment, so sterilize everything you can.  The mites can live for up to three weeks without a rabbit host!  Treatment can also take a while, so separate the infected rabbit even while being treated, that way it has a mite free place to get back to!

Treating Ear Mites In Rabbits

Treating ear mites involves putting drops in their ears (SO much easier to treat than fly strike!).  Marjory Wildcraft from The Grow Network reports good success using a honey mixture.   She put a few dropperfuls in the ears of one part honey two parts water twice a day.  You can also use Vet RX in the ears, or even a few drops of oil to smother the mites.  Keep treating for up to 28 days to make sure they don’t come back.

Hopefully your rabbits will always be happy and healthy!  But just in case, make sure you know what to look out for, and how to deal with fly strike and ear mites if they ever cause problems for you!

Fly Strike In Rabbits by The Cape Coop
Ear Mites Causes and Remedys by Rise and Shine Rabbitry

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