RVHD and Myxomatosis – are your Rabbits protected?
March 7, 2023
As Spring approaches, rabbits in Purleigh and other areas across Essex, like Purleigh, Maldon and Burnham-on-Crouch, are all at greater risk of contracting often fatal diseases. Our head vet, Jürgen says that it is vital that every domestic rabbit’s jabs are kept up to date annually. So, if you know your rabbit’s jabs are not up to date or if you are unsure of their vaccination status, then please call us and we’ll book your pet in for a vaccination.
Jürgen is keen to remind all rabbit owners that vaccinations are the only viable protection for your rabbits against killers like Myxomatosis and Rabbit Viral Haemorrhagic Disease (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 population of rabbits.
What are the symptoms of Myxomatosis and RVHD?
Symptoms of Myxomatosis include nasal and eye discharge, eye inflammation leading to blindness, swelling, redness/ulcers, problems breathing, appetite loss, and lethargy. Symptoms of VHD-1 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 practically un-treatable, and both are almost always fatal, sometimes within hours. Combine this with the fact that they are also very easily transmitted (even to indoor pets) and you’ll realise why it’s so important that your pet is protected with an annual vaccination. Rabbits can be vaccinated from the age of five weeks.
Help prevent the spread of these diseases
Jürgen advises that as well as 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 …