Our Pet of the Month Jacob the rabbit!
Jacob is a two and a half year old Continental Giant rabbit who was brought in to us after his owner noticed he was suffering from diarrhoea. Usually a very placid and content rabbit, Jacob was not himself at all. Tessa Procter, one of our vets examined him carefully and found a large wound around his anus hidden under his tail and fur. Distressingly for Jacob’s loving owner the wound contained maggots that were burying into his skin and creating a bigger wound. Jacob’s owner Mrs Clarke was horrified “Our three Giants live relatively wild in our garden, sleeping in a shed but with the run of the garden during the day. They are very happy and have a lovely life, so I hadn’t noticed that poor Jacob had this horrible wound until he was obviously unwell. It was awful”.
Jacob was immediately admitted to the hospital where he was diagnosed with fly strike. Tessa explained “Rabbits are prone to suffering from fly strike during the warmer months, it occurs when large flies such as blue bottles lay their eggs on a rabbit – it is not unusual. Rabbits that find it hard to clean themselves properly due to their age, size or health may be particularly at risk from fly strike and tragically it can become serious and even fatal very quickly. The first thing we need do is remove any maggots. It can be very hard to find all the maggots, especially in a rabbit of his size and type as their fur does not clip easily, but Jacob was a perfect patient and let us remove all the maggots we could see. We applied a fly spray and spot on to kill any maggots which might have been missed or which could still hatch. He was put on medication to support his guts as they did not appear to be contracting as they should have, leading to diarrhoea and an absence of gut sounds. He was also given antibiotics and pain relief for the large wound that the maggots had created.”
The next day Jacob was passing a few normal faeces and we were delighted to see that he had started eating again. He was kept in with us for another six days until we were absolutely confident that he was eating normally, had normal gut sounds again and the wound was healing well. Tessa added “Jacob was very lucky as maggots can very quickly cause damagingly deep wounds. Sometimes we have no choice but to euthanise rabbits that have suffered this sort of wound as the condition can be too severe to heal. We were all so happy that Jacob managed to recover so well”.
Mrs Clarke was very relieved “Jacob has a wonderful personality – he is kind and placid, not at all like the other two young Giants he lives with! Interestingly, when he got home he didn’t want to be around the other two rabbits at all. He even got quite aggressive with them and we had to keep them apart. Luckily once he’d healed properly, Jacob relaxed again and is now back living closely and happily with them. I make sure we check them regularly now for any early sign of fly strike.”
Quantock Veterinary Hospital is proud to have a Silver Award from the Rabbit Welfare Association & Fund (RWAF) for being a ‘Rabbit Friendly’ practice. We love our rabbit clients and do a lot to try to make them comfortable and happy when they visit us. If you’re interested in keeping rabbits and would like to know more, there’s lots of good advice on the RWAF website www.rabbitwelfare.co.uk or ask us for more information.