Lapis ISSN 2398-2969

Fly strike

Synonym(s): Myiasis, Blow strike, Maggot infestation

Contributor(s): David Scarff, Ron Rees Davies, Richard Saunders, Vicki Baldrey

Introduction

  • Fly strike (myiasis) is possibly the commonest dermatosis of domestic rabbits in the summer and autumn.
  • Cause: maggot larvae of flies of the order Diptera, which infest abnormal skin.
  • Signs: fly strike occurs mostly in warm weather, and is usually preceded by soiling or moist dermatitis on affected rabbit. Fly larvae cause alopecia and erosion/ulceration and may enter body cavities. Secondary skin infection is common and peritonitis/septicemia is commonly associated with entry to the body cavity.
  • Diagnosis: signs.
  • Treatment: clip and clean area, remove maggots, analgesia, antibiotics, fluid therapy.
  • Prognosis: poor in severe cases, otherwise dependant on predisposing conditions.

Print off the Owner Factsheets on Fly strike, Biting and nuisance flies and It's an emergency to give to your clients.

Acute presentation

  • Soiling and alopecia/erosion of perineal skin.
  • Ulceration/necrosis of large areas of skin may occur.
  • Characteristic smell.
  • Visible fly larvae.
  • Entry into body cavities possible.

Geographic incidence

  • Worldwide.
  • In USA Cuterebra spp larvae also involved, which develop as single maggots in a subcutaneous pocket over several weeks.

Morbidity

  • Usually isolated animals.
  • Many in a group affected in very poor housing/hygiene.

Mortality

Cost considerations

  • May be high as treatment of disease may be time-consuming.

Pathogenesis

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Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Prevention

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Outcomes

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Scarff D (2008) Skin diseases of pet rabbits. UK Vet 13 (2), 66-75 VetMedResource.
  • Cousquer G (2006) Veterinary care of rabbits with myiasis. In Pract 28 (6), 342 InPract.
  • Clyde V L (1996) Practical treatment and control of common ectoparasites in exotic pets. Vet Med 91 (7), 632-637 VetMedResource.
  • Morrisey J K (1996) Parasites of ferrets, rabbits and rodents. Semin Avian Exotic Pet Med 5 (2), 106-114.
  • Harvey C (1995) Rabbit and rodent skin diseases. Semin Avian Exotic Pet Med 4 (4), 195-204.
  • Hillyer E V (1994) Pet rabbits. Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract 24 (1), 25-65 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Meredith A (2014) Dermatoses In: Manual of Rabbit Medicine. Eds: Meredith A & Lord B. BSAVA. pp 255-263.
  • Varga M (2014) Skin diseases. In: Textbook of Rabbit Medicine. 2nd edn. Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford. pp 271-302.


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