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Abbey Veterinary Group
Your friendly independent two centre veterinary practice

Preventative Healthcare - Rabbit Parasites

Rabbit Parasites

Parasites rely on another animal to complete their life cycle. It is very important these are controlled to prevent irritation, debilitation, weight loss and the spread of infectious diseases.


Fleas help to spread diseases such as Myxomatosis. It is important to treat the environment as well as your rabbit to ensure re-infestation doesn’t occur. Check for little black specks of flea dirt in the coat. If you are not sure if what you find is flea dirt then place the sample on a white piece of paper and add a drop of water. If you see the sample dissolving or red coming from the edges, then this is positive for flea dirt. Should any of these diseases be present please call in and collect our recommended parasite control if you are a VIP Pet Healthcare member you will get a 10% discount on this product.


These are little mites that live on the surface of the skin and feed on serum beneath the skin surface. They cause hair loss, scurfy skin and can be itchy.  

Ear Mites

Ear mites are visible to the naked eye and can cause excessive wax build up. They can cause irritation and so the rabbit may shake his or her head, or rub their ears along the ground. In severe cases sedation is needed to get rid of all the mites. Please book your rabbit in with a vet if you are concerned – If you are a VIP Pet Heathcare member you will get a 10% discount off the consultation.


Rabbits get pin worms, which are about 5mm long. They can be found in the faeces or around the anus of the rabbit. Outdoor rabbits may need worming to control any worm burden. We can recommend a product for purchase.


Flystrike happens when flies lay eggs on a rabbit, which then hatch into maggots.  Flies such as bluebottles produce maggots that mature very rapidly and are able to eat flesh in a matter of hours.  It is a very common, painful and distressing condition that often results in death.

When would my rabbit be at risk?

Flystrike can occur at any time of year, but is more commonly seen between April and October.

What would make my rabbit at risk?

Any rabbit can get Flystrike, but the following factors can increase the risks:

• Obesity

• Long hair

• Abscesses or wounds

• Diarrhoea

• Wet fur

• Dirty or damp living conditions

• Dirty bottoms

Abbey Vets Key Points


• Almost all rabbits will pick up fleas

• Fleas are present all year round

• Fleas are a health hazard to both you and your pets

• Effective control involves treatment with the correct products throughout the year

• A rabbit shaking it’s head or rubbing it’s ears along the ground may have ear mites

• Flystrike is a common condition, which if treated quickly can prevent death. Your rabbit is more at risk between April and October

• If you find maggots on your rabbit this is an emergency case and it will be seen by the vet immediately.

Go Back

Treatment of sick and injured animals is obviously a very important part of our work, but we are great believers in preventative medicine.

What are the warning signs of Flystrike?

Rabbits can either be quiet or very restless, as they are uncomfortable.

What do I do if I find maggots?

Contact the Veterinary Surgery and you will be seen immediately.  Flystrike is an emergency as rabbits need to have immediate attention. Carefully wipe off any maggots, but do not wet the fur.

What is the treatment for Flystrike?

If Flystrike is found early enough affected rabbits can make a full recovery.

The area is clipped and then all maggots removed. Sometimes this may require sedation or an anaesthetic so that any concealed maggots can be removed as well as damaged tissue being dealt with. Rabbits will also need pain relief, fluid support and antibiotics to prevent infection. We recommend using RearguardTM which when applied to a rabbit prevents Flystrike for up to ten weeks.

RearguardTM is free of charge if you are member of our VIP Pet Healthcare Plan.