How To Prevent Flystrike In Pets
With fly season upon us, it is incredibly important to protect our vulnerable pets from Flystrike.
Rabbits and guinea pigs in particular are at risk this time of the year to what is known as Flystrike.
Flystrike is when a fly lays its eggs onto your guinea pig’s or rabbit’s coat. Once these eggs hatch they become embedded in their host and can cause some serious damage. If not treated immediately the problem will escalate at an alarming rate causing some serious pain to your small animals.
Signs that your rabbit or guinea pig might have Flystrike.
If you notice a sudden change in your rabbit or guinea pig’s appetite. For example, they may be eating less than usual. Low energy is a common sign and can often be mistaken for them struggling with the rise in temperatures. Keep an eye on your small animals especially if they start to withdraw and become less active. As time passes they may collapse, if this happens visit your nearest veterinary practice.
Any open wounds or sores are an open invite to flies. These are the perfect living conditions for fly eggs and/or maggots. Also, look out for patches of wet fur or areas of loss of fur on their bodies.
Maggots under your pet’s skin or fur are a key indicator that they have a fly strike and will need to be treated urgently.
Flies near or around your small animals and their hutches could also suggest they have been infected.
How to prevent your small animals from getting Flystrike.
There are several ways in which you can prevent your guinea pig or rabbit from getting flystrike.
- Firstly keep them clean and dry, checking their bodies daily, especially their rear ends. During the warmer months, it might be worthwhile checking them more frequently as Flystrike seems to be more common during this period.
- Grooming can play an important role in preventing Flystrike, this will help you to keep an eye on their bodies. Good grooming will keep their coat in great condition. Some small animals such as long-haired guinea pigs might benefit greatly from a trim, this will help to avoid dirt getting trapped in their fur.
- Their bedding and resting area should also be kept clean and dry. Flies are attracted to damp and dirty spaces and are more likely to lay their eggs on an animal living in poor conditions over one living in a clean dry hutch. In some instances, a pet-friendly disinfectant will help keep their living space clean and fly-free. We stock Zero In Fly Papers which are easy-to-use adhesive strips that trap flies using a non-toxic sweet scent.
- If you notice your rabbit or guinea pig has developed a wound, it is important to keep the area clean and dry, checking it regularly throughout the day. Again if you are concerned about this then reach out to your local vet.
- A healthy and well-balanced diet is key to avoiding flystrike. Rabbits and guinea pigs who are overweight are more prone to developing health issues which may result in them not being able to exercise. This could then lead to an unfit and lazy lifestyle creating difficulties for your pets when going to the toilet, not being able to lift their behinds or clean themselves properly attracting flies. When feeding your small animals, don’t forget to remove any leftover fruit and veg as this will become the perfect breeding ground for flies making your pets easy targets.
- Another issue to look out for is arthritis, animals who suffer from arthritis without the support of medicine will have difficulties similar to overweight rabbits and guinea pigs. It is worth mentioning to your local vet so they can be monitored.
- If your pets happen to have any accidents such as urine spillages on their coats it might be worthwhile bathing them but take precautions and be gentle following the correct steps when bathing a rabbit or guinea pig. If you don’t feel confident grooming your small animal, contact your local vet for advice, call into one of our stores or have a read of our blog ‘A Guide To Grooming Small Animals’ where we go into detail about this topic.
- As flies can get into almost anything using a pet-friendly insect mesh that will deter any flies from gaining access into their living or sleeping quarters.
- If being outdoors is becoming an issue for your small animals, consider bringing them indoors, especially during the high fly season.
- Beaphar has created a Fly Guard spray that is designed to protect both your rabbits and guinea pigs from flystrike for up to three months. Unfortunately, if your small animal has eggs that have already hatched into maggots then their survival rate decreases, and veterinary help is required immediately.
What about Wasps and Bees?
If like us, you have a playful pooch or cat who loves nothing more than getting his nose into everything. You may have also run into a bit of trouble on a spring summer’s day.
Flies aren’t the only insect with wings that enjoy tormenting our pets throughout the summer months. Another member of the flying insect community is the wasp and the bee.
There is something about the buzzing of a bee or wasp our pets can’t seem to resist. The majority of the time our pets will be fine after being stung by one of these buzzing insects. However, there are also those that can react badly to a sting from a wasp or bee. Because they may be allergic to the venom that comes from a bee or wasps sting.
- If you are unsure as to whether your pet has been stung. There are a few telltale signs to look out for.
- Whining or touching the area with their paw.
- Limping as a result of not being able to place their paw on the ground due to a sting. If the sting has taken place on a front paw. They may lift their paw up to avoid placing any pressure on the affected area.
- Drooling is accompanied by biting or nibbling the tender area surrounding the wound.
- Swelling on the area.
What to do if my pet has been stung?
If your pet has been stung, avoid panicking because it could stress out your dog or cat. Remain completely calm and attempt to remove the poison to avoid infection. If possible have their favourite toy or blanket nearby. Avoid squeezing or pulling the sting as this may result in further damage and pain. As more poison will be released into your pet’s body. One of the better ways to remove the sting. Is to use a credit card or something similar in shape and size. In a scraping, motion try to release the foreign body.
As soon as the sting has been removed, bathe your pet’s wound. Followed by pressing something cool onto the area to reduce any further swelling. Reassure your pet with words and perhaps a treat to show them they did well.
Although the poison is out, the next few hours are important. Keep a close watch over your pet. Because there is still a chance they may have an allergic reaction to the bee or wasp sting. Especially if the incident occurred inside their mouth. This can result in complications with breathing due to their airway being blocked.
What signs to look for in an allergic reaction.
If you are unsure of what signs to look for in an allergic reaction to a bee or wasp sting. Below is a list of signs you should be aware of.
- Vomiting or diarrhoea.
- Drooling or pale gums
- Difficulty breathing
- Any swelling on the face such as the eyes, ears, throat, or mouth as well as any uncontrollable fits.
If your pets are showing any of the signs above, contact your veterinarian immediately. Remember it can often be more difficult to spot these signs in your cats. Because they are great masters of disguise and great at hiding when they are in any pain.
We do hope this has been of some use to you. Especially with the summer season finally here and awakening all these tiny insects. If you require any further information or advice on how to prevent flies, wasps, bees, and other insects from affecting your pets. Call into one of our stores and a member of our team will be more than happy to help you. You can also reach us on our social channels or via our website.