It is important to vaccinate your rabbit against Myxomatosis and Rabbit (Viral) Haemorrhagic Disease. Many rabbits remain unvaccinated and therefore vulnerable to disease that can not only cause great suffering but can also be fatal. Both ‘Myxy’ and RHD are viral diseases found throughout the UK. Sadly all rabbits, both wild and tame, are at risk of these diseases.
Otherwise known as ‘Myxo’, this is a common viral disease.
What are the symptoms? The first signs of infection are puffy, fluid filled swellings around the head and face. Within a few days, these swellings can become so severe that they can cause blindness. Eating and drinking becomes more difficult and death usually follows within a few weeks.
How is it spread? ‘Myxo‘ is most commonly spread by the rabbit flea but it can also spread between rabbits in close contact.
Rabbit/ Viral Haemorrhagic Disease
Otherwise known as ‘RHD/VHD’.
This is a viral disease with two strains RHD/VHD 1 and RHD/VHD 2.
What are the symptoms? Most affected rabbits will die suddenly without showing any previous signs. In those that survive longer, the signs can be quite varied but may include fever, convulsions, comas followed by death. In a number of cases a bloody discharge might be seen from the nose.
How is it spread? The virus is shed in the urine, droppings and respiratory secretions of affected animals and readily spreads to other rabbits either by direct contact, or indirectly, either by biting insects or via contaminated clothing, hutches, feeding containers and other inanimate objects.
In previous years we have had to vaccinate rabbits twice annually with two different vaccines to provide protection against Myxo, RHD1 and RHD2.
However, there is now an all in one vaccination called Myxo-RHD PLUS. This can be given from 7 weeks of age and provides 12 months protection against Myxo, RHD1 and RHD2 so it only needs to be repeated once annually to maintain immunity. This means healthier rabbits with fewer stressful vet visits!
If you would like to find out more about vaccinations for your rabbit, or to book an appointment with one of our veterinary surgeons, please call the practice on 01626 835002.