Julia’s Weekly Column For The Middy
A new deadly disease is rapidly reducing the rabbit population
There is a new disease affecting rabbits, and it appears to be spreading faster than the rabbit population. Known as RVHD2, the disease is a deadly strain of Viral Haemorrhagic Disease (VHD), which the current UK rabbit vaccine does not protect against.
At The Mewes Vets, we have organised a special license to import the European vaccine into Sussex, to be able to protect the beloved bunnies in our area. This does provide protection against the newest strain, but is not readily available to everyone. The vaccine is only £18 and protects your rabbit for 12 months. It’s important to remember how vital vaccination is – especially as there’s currently no cure for this condition.
RVHD2 was first seen in the UK in 2012 but it has been spreading quickly, and has now become a huge threat to our pets. The Moredun Institute (an organisation committed to researching infectious diseases) has advised that cases have been confirmed throughout the UK. Whilst The Mewes Vets have not yet confirmed a case, we cannot assume that our bunnies are ‘safe’.
VHD can affect rabbits aged 10 weeks old and above, and kills very fast, causing death within hours. Because of this it spreads quite slowly, as affected pets often do not live long enough to pass it on to others.
With RVHD2 it is thought that more animals survive for longer, but unfortunately even babies can be infected. Patients are ill for days, suffer jaundice and bleeding, then some recover and others die. It is difficult to diagnose except at post mortem, so cases may be occurring in Mid Sussex without being reported.
If you have a rabbit, or know friends that do, please contact The Mewes Vets on 01444 456886 to book an appointment for the RVHD2 vaccine.
On a happier note: The Mewes Vets’ are still accepting entries for our pet portrait competition until 31st October. The best pet portraits will be included in our 2017 calendar, which is being sold in aid of Paws and Claws.
If you want to enter the competition and be in with a chance to win £100 of pet food, send your best pet snaps to firstname.lastname@example.org with your name too.