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Bot Flies are Bad for Bunnies

Apologies once again for the delay in weeks. While my time management has improved greatly, there is little I can do about internet outages. And the Wix editor is not mobile friendly!


We've never had bot flies before. I'm hearing that a lot on various social media platforms and it's also true for us. I'd heard the name, but I'd never even seen one until this year. And wow, they're like something out of a horror movie!

As a side note, this seems like a good place to mention that this article gets pretty gross in places. Buyer beware.

Whether cage raising or colony raising, frequently health checks are important. We do daily checks on young rabbits, especially in hot, damp weather when the chance of parasites and disease are especially high.

Recently we found a number of baby rabbits has wiggled their way out of their nest and fell, not only out of the nesting box but actually through the floor of the colony! They were retrieved without issue, except that a couple seemed to have scratched themselves on the wire. The next day one had a slight infection (treated) and the other seemed to have a bad wound on the back of its neck.

Only.... The check was done at night and when I shone the flashlight on it, something moved.

I wasn't joking when I said it was like something in a horror movie.

Our bunny first aid kit has a very tiny set of tweezers, though this was the first time I've ever needed to use them. The blow fly actually went out of its way to avoid the tweezers - which made it even more creepy - but it was finally snagged and removed. And then burned.

This didn't mean the rabbit was out of the woods though. The larvae had left a large, deep wound on the back of it's neck, and it was already the smallest and weakest of the babies. Digging at the spot had also stripped all the hair from its shoulder and the back of it's neck.

Several days of cleaning and applying hydrogen peroxide with a cotton swab and the hole began to heal up. While the poor thing remained bald, it luckily managed to avoid infection or any other complicating factors. It continued to eat well and grown, even while healing.

Oddly it never formed a scab. The hole where the bot fly had burrowed in never really bled, despite how deep it was, and over time it just filled in and eventually became pink skin. There is still a scar there, but already the damage is barely visible.

Health checks and early detection was the key to saving this little one's life. Two weeks later, not only has this little one completely recovered, but it has now caught up to it's siblings in size, most of the fur has regrown and it has gotten so used to being held that it is, by far, our tamest of the litter!

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