Fly strike or Myasis is a condition that is caused by flies laying their eggs on contaminated areas of an animal, the flies are attracted to the warmth darkness and moisture as this is an ideal breeding ground and the eggs hatching out into maggots. They lay their eggs and the maggots will eat the material they were hatched on. They will consume as much as they can before entering the pupa stage of their development just prior to becoming a fly.
It can affect any kind of animal however the most common are rabbits and hedgehogs it is definitely not limited to these animals. we have seen everything from cats and guinia pigs to large dogs and tortioses. It is most common during spring and summer but it can happen at any time of year.
For most animals the biggest risk is the infections that are caught from the adult fly that lays the eggs as well as the risk of maggots penetrating the abdominal cavity. The type of fly that lays its eggs will to some extent determine the extent of the infestation as some species of fly will eat exclusively dead tissue while others will eat any tissue living or dead. So if an infestation is noticed it is essential that you seek veterinary treatment as will only take a few hours for a small infestation to cause a large amount of damage.
- First a fly lays its eggs on the surface of the contaminated skin they appear to be clusters of small white to yellow rods ranging from tiny to quite large. This is the best stage to notice if your pet has fly strike as there has been no chance to the eggs to hatch and there has been no damage done.
- The next stage is where the maggots have hatched and are currently occupied with eating anything that they can. You will see maggots crawling around on the surface of the skin or see clusters of tails sticking out from open wounds or cavities. This is the most destructive stage.
- Next the maggots will turn a dark brown and pupate into a hard shell. They become completely immobile for several days while they are undergoing the transformation form maggot to a fly.
- They eventually emerge from the pupa as a fully grown fly ready to start the cycle all over again.
There are many factors that predispose your pet to fly strike such as if your pet doesn’t have full use of its rear end or if your pet has urinary or faecal incontinence as well as if your pet is prone to having a dirty bum. Rabbits that are overweight or have dental problems are also at a greater risk of infestation.
Fly strike is treatable if caught early but it poses a significant risk to your pet. It is always better to prevent an infestation than to treat one.
There are many things that can help to prevent an infestation such as frequent cleaning when it’s hot or a fly net around the hutch. There are also several medications that help with the prevention and treatment of fly strike.
For more information on flystrike give us a call or drop us an email.