Flystrike in pets

Flystrike is a painful, sometimes fatal, condition caused by flies laying eggs on another animal, which hatch into maggots and eat their 'hosts' flesh.

If an animal becomes infested, seek immediate veterinary advice.

Which pets are most at risk?

Pets with dirty rear ends or generally dirty fur are particularly at risk. This may occur in animals which:

  • are unable to clean themselves properly
  • are ill, they may produce abnormally smelly urine or have diarrhoea
  • are fed inappropriate diets
  • have internal parasitic infection
  • have open wound(s).

Even clean, well-kept pets can get flystrike

Preventing flystrike in pets

Flystrike can occur in hours. Toxic shock and death can result very quickly.

Speak to your vet about the best way of reducing the risk of flystrike before warmer weather starts between April and October.

Prevention methods include:

  • Check for signs of illness/injury/abnormal behaviour daily.
  • In warm weather check your pet all over their body, especially around their rear end and tail area at least twice a day.
  • If your pets back end is dirty, clean immediately with warm water; ensure the area is dried thoroughly. It may be necessary to clip the fur; if you're unsure how to do this, seek advice from a specialist.
  • Clean toilet areas daily.
  • Clean housing and change bedding at least once a week.
  • Ensure your pet is not overweight and is fed a correct diet. 
  • Consider insect-proofing the housing of pets living outside, putting net curtains over hutches and runs etc.
  • Neuter female rabbits, entire females may be more prone to flystrike.
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