Brought to you by Beaphar UK
We all love our guinea pigs, so the last thing we want is to see them suffering with fly strike. This unpleasant illness is potentially fatal, but fortunately fly strike can be easily avoided. We know it’s not nice to think about, but knowing how fly strike is caused means you can protect your guinea pigs more effectively. So, let’s get this nasty bit out of the way!
What is fly strike, and how do guinea pigs get it?
Fly strike occurs when blowflies lay eggs on a guinea pig, usually around the bottom area. These eggs hatch into larvae, which then begin to eat the flesh. Some eggs can hatch in as little as 24 hours, so taking preventative measures is the best way to protect your pet.
If you discover your guinea pig has been ‘struck’, seek veterinary advice immediately. If you’re unable to do so or you’re confident you’ve caught it early, you can follow the fly strike treatment advice on the Beaphar website.
The main cause of fly strike is a dirty or unclean hutch, with the smell from urine and poo being a big draw for flies. This is magnified in the summer months when temperatures are hotter, so it’s important to keep hutches and litter trays clean.
While this is the main cause of fly strike, if your guinea pig falls into one of the following categories they could be more at risk:
- Older, overweight or have dental problems – All three of these issues will make it harder for your pet to clean themselves properly. For older guinea pigs, to avoid fly strike you will need to check (and if needed clean) their bottoms regularly. You’ll need to do the same for guinea pigs that are overweight or have dental problems, but you’ll also need to look at their diet and ensure they’re eating the right foods. Speak to you vet for further advice.
- Have recently been unwell, particularly with diarrhoea – No doubt you’ll have been giving your sick guinea pig extra love and attention anyway, but do ensure you check their bottoms regularly for signs of fly strike. An unwell guinea pig may not be able to clean themselves, and if they have been suffering with diarrhoea in particular, this is more likely to get stuck in the fur around their bottom.
- Is a long-haired breed – Guinea pigs with long hair are more likely to get poo stuck in the fur around their bottom, particularly if they’re not groomed as often as they should be. When grooming your pet, be sure to check and clean their bottom.
At Beaphar, we’ve created a simple 3 step plan to help you say farewell to fly strike:
Step 1: Prepare
- Clean and disinfect hutches with Beaphar Deep Clean Disinfectant, and change all bedding once a week. Clean and disinfect litter trays/toilet areas every day.
Step 2: Prevent
- Sprinkle Beaphar Cage Fresh Granules in litter trays and toilet areas. They contain friendly-microbes that break down odours, reducing the attraction of flies
Step 3: Protect
- Use Beaphar Fly Guard on your guinea pigs’ bottoms – one application gives up to 3 months protection.
Remember, even when using Beaphar Fly Guard or a suitable product, you should still be checking and cleaning (if needed) your pet’s bottom every day.