Myiasis in rabbits

The problem of myiasis in rabbits involves infestation with maggots. This can also affect many other animals, including other household pets such as cats. The maggots may be visible to the naked eye. You could also see the presence of eggs that the maggots come from. Moist skin areas are another sign of the infestation.

Treating the condition will involve shaving the area, physically removing the invaders, and allowing the area to heal. If a skin problem is present this will need addressing as well.

Flies, such as blowflies, are always on the look out for a promising place to lay their eggs. They are particularly fond of damaged skin on animals. An area of decaying, inflamed, or infected skin on a rabbit is a prime target for such invaders. There are various reasons why the skin of the rabbit may be damaged in this way. It could be bacterial or fungal skin infection, for example, or some sort of physical wounding. Whatever the case, this underlying cause will also need to be dealt with.

The eggs of the flies may well hatch out as maggots within a day or two of being laid. They then begin to feed on the flesh of the rabbit and can bite into the tissue. They tend to leave of their own accord after about a week and take residence in the soil. The clearest sign of the infestation is to visually identify the maggots in the skin of the animal. The infested area is likely to be moist. The rabbit will be rather frustrated and uncomfortable at the infestation and will most likely display this.

To begin with treatment must focus simply on getting rid of the maggots and any remaining eggs that haven’t hatched yet. The sticky eggs and the hooks used by the maggots make this beyond simple washing. So this means that the treatment will require first shaving any area of the animal that has been infested. The maggots and any remaining eggs must then be physically removed from the skin and this may take hours.

You might be tempted to use an insecticide, which will kill the maggots. But this can sometimes poison an unwell rabbit, so it should only be used in mild doses and washed off pretty quickly. When the maggots and eggs are gone the area needs time to heal. If there some underlying skin problem there then this will need treatment as well, such as antibiotics for a bacterial infection.