Annual rabbit vaccinations will give your pet a long, happy life
Unless properly vaccinated, your rabbit runs the risk of contracting one of several frequently fatal infectious diseases:
- rabbit haemorrhagic disease (RHD).
- rabbit viral haemhorragic disease type 2 (RHDV2)
While it’s possible for your rabbit to survive these diseases, they invariably lead to suffering and, in most cases, death.
You can protect them from these conditions and give them a long, healthy and happy life by keeping up-to-date with their vaccinations.
How do vaccines works?
A kitten (baby rabbit) can be vaccinated against myxomatosis and RHD from five weeks of age. An adult rabbit can start its primary vaccination at any stage. Generally, it takes about three weeks for the immunity to develop and the rabbit to be protected.
Immunity to these diseases does not last indefinitely and will gradually leave your rabbit at risk, so booster vaccinations will be needed every year.
The myxomatosis and RHD vaccines are now available in one annual vaccine for rabbits, at our clinic. We tend to administer the RHVD2 vaccine at a different time, but it is also required annually.
Don’t endanger your rabbit, book them in for vaccinations by phoning 01444 456886
This disease is caused by a type of pox virus which grows best in the skin of rabbits. The disease was originally introduced to the United Kingdom accidentally from France, where the disease had been imported to control the rabbit population.
Myxomatosis is spread by blood sucking insects. A major insect parasite which transmits the disease in this country is the rabbit flea. There is also strong circumstantial evidence to suggest that mosquitoes transmit myxomatosis in the United Kingdom. Myxomatosis is not easily spread by simple contact between rabbits.
The incubation period varies slightly, but can be as short as 5 days and as long as 14 days. Affected rabbits develop a high fever, swelling around the eyes and go off their food and water.
The commonest cause of death is pneumonia which often occurs around day 8 of the disease. Some animals may survive for weeks or months after infection but, in general, if an infection is severe in a susceptible rabbit, death occurs within 12 days.
Although vaccination is the mainstay in the prevention of myxomatosis, flea and other biting insect control is important. This will involve not only keeping wild rabbits away from pet animals, but also the use of sprays and insect repellents.
Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease (RHD)
This disease, caused by a virus of the calicivirus group, only affects adult rabbits and hares. It was first identified in wild rabbits in China in 1984 and rapidly spread to Europe and the United Kingdom.
The virus is spread in saliva and nasal secretions with transmission resulting from either direct rabbit to rabbit contact or indirectly by the transport of the virus on people, clothing, other objects or animals.
Only rabbits over the age of 6 weeks are seriously affected, though many of these will die. The incubation period is 16 hours to 3 days and the symptoms vary from sudden death through suffocation, convulsions and nose bleeds, to a mild malaise and spontaneous recovery.