Why annual vaccinations for rabbits in Cambridgeshire are vital
March 14, 2023
As Spring approaches, rabbits are at greater risk of contracting diseases such as Rabbit Viral Haemorrhagic Disease (RVHD) and Myxomatosis, which are often fatal. Our vet, Patrick says that it is vital that every domestic rabbit’s jabs are kept up to date. So, if your rabbit’s vaccinations have lapsed, or if you are unsure of their vaccination status, please call us to check and book him or her in if a booster is due.
Patrick is keen to remind all rabbit owners that vaccinations are the only viable protection for your rabbits against Myxomatosis and RVHD.
How are Myxomatosis and RVHD contracted?
Domestic pets do not need to be in contact with wild rabbits to catch Myxomatosis or RVHD. Myxomatosis is passed through fleas, mosquitos, midges, and mites, whilst RVHD can be carried in feed, on bedding, by wild birds and insects, and on the shoes of rabbit owners who have been walking in an infected area. Both diseases spread quickly once in a rabbit population and can persist in the environment for a long time, so any new rabbits bought into a previously infected area will be at risk increased risk unless vaccinated.
What are the symptoms of Myxomatosis and RVHD?
Symptoms of Myxomatosis include discharge from the nose and eyes, eye inflammation leading to blindness, swelling, redness/ulcers, problems breathing, appetite loss, and lethargy. Symptoms of RVHD include respiratory distress, fever, appetite loss, lethargy, convulsions, paralysis, and bleeding from the nose before death. If you see any of these symptoms, you should call us immediately.
How can we treat Myxomatosis and RVHD?
Both diseases are virtually un-treatable, and both are almost always fatal, sometimes within hours. Combined with the fact that they are also very easily transmitted (even to indoor pets) this makes it even more important that your pet is protected. Rabbits can be vaccinated from the age of five weeks, with an annual booster to keep immunity up to scratch.
How to prevent the spread of disease
Patrick advises that aalongside vaccination, there are a few other ways to reduce the chances of infection:
Always wash your hands before & after handling rabbits.
Do your best to protect them from biting insects by putting mosquito netting around the hutch.
If you allow your rabbits to exercise outside, avoid letting them out in the early morning or late afternoon when mosquitoes are more prevalent.
Finally, talk to our team about flea prevention for your rabbit.
But most of all, if you know your rabbit’s jabs are not up to date, please …