Carla Lane Animals In Need

Registered Charity Number: 1031342


All our rabbits are vaccinated against Myxomatosis and all adult males are castrated.

We recommend that owners continue their rabbits vaccination protection against Myxomatosis and speak to their vets about the VHD injection.

We check our rabbits regularly and treat them with REAR GUARD to prevent fly strike.

For prevention of fly strike in rabbits. Apply to the skin every 8-10 weeks during fly strike season.

This is a prescription-only medicine and can only be purchased at your vets or by getting a prescription and buying online.


 Health and welfare

Make sure your rabbit is protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease


  • Rabbits feel pain in the same way as other mammals, including people.
  • Rabbits are not good at showing outward signs of pain so may be suffering a great deal before anything is noticed. A change in the way a rabbit normally behaves can be an early sign it is ill or in pain. If a rabbit is not eating or is more quiet than usual it is highly likely to be ill or in pain. 
  • Rabbits are vulnerable to many infectious diseases and other illnesses, especially dental disease. They can catch deadly infectious diseases from wild rabbits.
  • Rabbits that are stressed are much more likely to become ill.
  • Un-neutered female rabbits are at a high risk of developing cancer of the womb, and un-neutered rabbits are more likely to fight if kept together.
  • Some breeds of rabbit have been selected for exaggerated physical features which can cause them to suffer and reduce their quality of life.
  • Certain breeds are particularly prone to inherited disorders and diseases.
  • A rabbit which can be easily identified (e.g. via a microchip) is more likely to be reunited with its owner if lost and to receive prompt veterinary care if injured.

Things you should do

  • Get your rabbit neutered, unless it is intended for breeding and provisions have been made to care for both parents and offspring. Before allowing rabbits to breed, seek the advice of your vet to ensure they are suitable for breeding in terms of their health and personalities.
  • Before deciding to buy a rabbit, make sure you find out what health and behaviour problems it has, or may be prone to, how it has been bred and how it has been cared for. Always check with a vet if you are unsure about anything.
  • Feeding your rabbit a correct diet of mainly hay and/or grass will help prevent a lot of common diseases such as dental and gut disease. Check that your rabbit is eating every day and that it is passing plenty of dry droppings. If your rabbit’s eating or drinking habits change or the number of droppings gets less or stops, talk to your vet straight away as it could be seriously ill.
  • Check your rabbit for signs of illness or injury every day, and make sure this is done by someone else if you are away.  In warm weather you should check the fur and skin around your rabbit’s rear end and tail area twice a day, as urine staining or droppings that are stuck will attract flies, which can lay eggs and cause ‘flystrike’, which is often fatal. Read more about identifying flystrike and how to prevent flystrike in pets.
  • Front teeth and nails should be checked at least once a week as these can grow quickly. Only a vet should correct overgrown or misaligned teeth.
  • Take your rabbit for a routine health check at your vets at least once each year.
  • Get your rabbit vaccinated regularly against myxomatosis and Viral Haemmorhagic Disease (VHD), as advised by your vet.
  • Prevent your rabbit having contact with wild rabbits or areas where wild rabbits have been.
  • Give your rabbit treatment for external and internal parasites (e.g. fleas and worms) as necessary, as advised by your vet.
  • Only use medicines that have been specifically recommended for your rabbit by a vet. Some medicines used for other animals can be very dangerous to rabbits.
  • Ensure your rabbit’s coat is kept in good condition by grooming it regularly. If you are unsure how to groom it properly seek advice from a pet care specialist.
  • Make sure your rabbit can be identified, ideally via a microchip (ask your vet for advice), so it can be treated quickly if injured or returned to you if lost.
  • Consider taking out pet insurance to ensure your rabbit is covered if it needs veterinary treatment.

Plants that are poisonous to rabbits

Generally speaking, rabbits do not tend to eat poisonous plants if they are fed a well balanced diet. Do not feed rabbits with frost-damaged vegetables, dirty or mouldy vegetation. Do not feed grass that may have been treated with weed killer, pesticides or grass clippings or anything that has been soiled by cats or dogs.

Other plants known to be poisonous to domestic animals:

Bulbs/bluebells/crocus, etc. Anemones
Bindweed/convolvulus Lords & ladies/arum
Bracken Bryony
Buttercups Celandine
Charlock Deadly nightshade/belladonna
Dock leaves Figwort
Fool's parsley Foxglove
Ground elder Hellebore
Hemlock Henbane
Horsetails Iris
Laburnum Lily of the valley
Lupin Monkshood
Mouldy hay/straw Oak leaves
Old man's beard/toadflax Poppies
Potato stalks Privet
Ragwort Scarlet pimpernel
Travellers joy Wild celery

Identifying and preventing flystrike

Flystrike (‘myiasis’) is a major welfare problem that mainly occurs during warm weather. It’s a painful condition that can affect rabbits, guinea pigs, cats and dogs as well as farm animals such as sheep, goats, llamas and alpacas.

Even clean, well-kept animals can get flystrike. It only takes one fly and one area of soiled fur/fleece or damaged skin!

Flystrike occurs when certain species of fly lay their eggs on another animal. These eggs hatch into maggots that then begin to eat the animal’s flesh. Flies are attracted by soiled or wet fur/fleece, often around the animal’s rear end. However, any area of the body can be affected, as can any wound, cut or scratch. Flystrike causes serious pain and suffering and it can be fatal.

When does flystrike occur?

Flystrike can occur at any time of the year, but in the UK animals are particularly at risk between April and October when the weather is warmer.

Which animals are most at risk?

Animals that have a dirty rear end or generally dirty fur/fleece. Causes can include:

  • Long-haired animals that may not be able to groom themselves thoroughly without human intervention.
  • Obese/overweight and older animals that cannot reach round easily to clean themselves.
  • Animals with dental, spinal or balance problems, which make cleaning difficult or painful.
  • Animals that are ill, as they may not feel well enough to clean themselves thoroughly and, depending on their illness, may also produce abnormally smelly urine or have diarrhoea, which will attract flies.
  • Animals that have an inappropriate diet.
  • Animals that have an internal parasitic infection.
  • Animals with an open wound anywhere on the body.
  • Unshorn sheep of woolly breeds.

Prevention is better than cure!

Animals at risk of flystrike should be inspected twice a day during the months above. Their body should be checked all over, especially around the rear end where the fur/wool can become contaminated with droppings and urine.

Flystrike can occur in a matter of hours. Because the toxins released into the bloodstream by the maggots can cause the animal to go into toxic shock, death can result very quickly if flystrike is not spotted and treated rapidly.

Owners/stock-keepers should discuss with their vet the most appropriate ways of reducing the risk of flystrike before the high-risk period starts.

Pet owners should discuss with their vet the most appropriate ways of reducing the risk of flystrike before the high-risk period starts.  It can occur at any time of the year, but in the UK animals are particularly at risk between April and October when the weather is warmer. 

To help prevent flystrike you should:

  • Check your pet thoroughly for signs of illness, injury or abnormal behaviour every day and in warm weather check the fur and skin around your pet’s rear end and tail area at least twice a day.
  • If your pet has a dirty back end, clean it immediately with warm water to remove all traces of soiling and ensure the area is dried thoroughly. It may be necessary to clip the fur away from your pet’s back end; if you are unsure how to do this properly, seek advice from a pet care specialist.
  • Clean litter trays or toilet areas every day.
  • Clean housing and change bedding regularly – at least once a week.
  • Ensure your pet is not overweight and is fed a correct diet. Your vet can give you further advice to help manage your pet’s weight and ensure an appropriate diet is provided.
  • For animals that live outside, consider ways of insect-proofing their housing, e.g. by putting net curtains over hutches and runs.
  • Consider neutering female rabbits, as entire females may be more prone to flystrike, especially if disease of the uterus develops.

What should I do if I suspect flystrike?

If an animal becomes infested, it should be examined by a vet immediately or, if this is not possible, seek immediate veterinary advice.

Is flystrike treatable?

If caught early, flystrike can be successfully treated, but success depends upon how much damage the maggots have done and if your vet considers your animal to have a reasonable chance of recovery. After treatment, wounds can take several weeks to heal. During this time, your animal will be at increased risk of further bouts of flystrike and infection, so it will require careful nursing and additional preventative measures should be taken

  Make sure your rabbit has a healthy diet

  • Without water to drink a rabbit can become seriously ill.
  • Rabbits are grazers and naturally eat only grass and other plants.
  • The rabbit’s digestive system must have grass and/or hay in order to function properly.
  • Some plants are poisonous to rabbits.
  • Rabbits do not naturally eat cereals, root vegetables or fruit.
  • Rabbits naturally eat for long periods of time, mainly at dawn and dusk.
  • How much a rabbit needs to eat depends on its age, lifestyle and state of health.
  • If a rabbit eats more food than it needs it will become overweight and may suffer.
  • Rabbits' teeth grow continuously throughout their life and need to be worn down and kept at the correct length and shape by eating grass, hay and leafy green plants. Failure to eat the right diet can result in serious dental disease.
  • Rabbits produce two types of droppings – hard dry pellets, and softer moist pellets that it eats directly from its bottom and which are an essential part of its diet.

Things you should do  

  • Provide fresh clean drinking water at all times. Check the water supply twice a day. Make sure water doesn’t freeze if your rabbit is outdoors in winter.

  • Good quality hay and/or grass should make up the majority of your rabbit’s diet and should be available at all times.
  • You can feed a small amount of commercial rabbit pellets or cereal mix, but hay and/or grass are much more important. If pellets or mix are provided, follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Don’t keep topping the bowl up as this may result in it not eating enough hay and/or grass. Growing, pregnant, nursing or underweight rabbits may need a larger portion of pellets or mix. Your vet or a rabbit nutritionist will be able to advise you about how to provide the best diet for your rabbit.
  • Find out which plants are safe to feed your rabbit. Offer safe, washed leafy greens or weeds every day.
  • Do not feed lawnmower clippings as these can upset your rabbit’s digestive system and make it ill.
  • Only give root vegetables like carrots, or fruit, in small amounts as a treat. Don’t feed any other treats as these may harm your rabbit.
  • Adjust how much you feed your rabbit to make sure it does not become underweight or overweight.
  • Don’t make any sudden changes to your rabbit’s diet as this could upset its digestive system and make it very ill.
  • Monitor the amount your rabbit eats and drinks. If your rabbit’s eating or drinking habits change, the number of droppings gets less or stops, or there are soft droppings sticking to its back end, talk to your vet straight away as it could be seriously ill.








Upcoming Events

Sanctuary Details


Registered Charity 1031342

Fir Tree Animal Sanctuary,

Spurriers Lane,



L31 1BA


0151 549 0959

Out of Hours & Cat Help Line - 0151 526 3359

email -


Viewing - 12.30-4.30pm (Summer)

Tue - Sun (Closed Monday)

Donations -10.30am - 5pm


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