Please ensure your rabbit is fully vaccinated - myxomatosis outbreaks in Cardiff and Newport
Rabbits are rapidly gaining in popularity as pets throughout the U.K. and are currently the third most popular pet. Rabbits, just like cats and dogs can also be vaccinated.
There are currently TWO vaccines for rabbits - Myxomatosis and Viral Haemorrhagic Disease (VHD). Myxomatosis can be given every 12months, however in high risk areas, such as Newport and Cardiff, this vaccine is given every 6months for extra protection. VHD is given every 12 months.
Myxomatosis - a few questions and answers
What is it?
- A Viral disease found both in wild rabbits and pet rabbits
How is it spread?
- Spread by BITING insects such as fleas, flies and Cheyletiella (rabbit fur mite or walking dandruff)
- NOTE = Fleas and mites can survive for many months in hay so good hygiene is important
- Direct rabbit-to-rabbit contact
Is your rabbit at risk?
- Any rabbit is at risk including indoor bunnies
- The risk increases if your pet dog or cat hunts wild rabbits or if foxes enter the garden as they can transfer the rabbit flea to your pet bunny
What are the clinical signs?
Classical signs include:
- Runny eyes which develops into severe conjunctivitis and swollen eyelids
- Runny nose with thick discharge from the nose
- Difficulty breathing
- Swellings of the head
- Swollen genitals
Occasionally two other forms are seen:
- Pneumonia-type symptoms
- Skin nodules
How serious is Myxomatosis?
- Sadly in unvaccinated bunnies, Myxomatosis is rapidly fatal. The signs take about 2 weeks to fully develop and survival is rare.
- However, if a vaccinated bunny is unlucky enough to catch Myxomatosis, with intensive nursing care treatment is usually successful. This is because the vaccine provides the bunny with some immunity to fight the disease and the signs are much less severe.
What about vaccination?
- Vaccination is a must against this disease. Without vaccination bunnies have little chance on surviving the disease.
- Domestic rabbits do not have any natural immunity against Myxomatosis and therefore even if a mum rabbit (doe) is vaccinated, her babies will not have any protection until they are also vaccinated
- Vaccination turns a fatal illness into one that can be treated.
When can vaccination be given and how often?
- Vaccination can be given as young as 6 weeks old
- Boosters are given every 12 months in low risk areas HOWEVER in high risk areas they are given every 6months.
- HIGH RISK AREAS include:
- Anywhere near standing water
- Anywhere with a large mosquito population
- Areas where Myxomatosis outbreaks have occurred which currently includes NEWPORT and CARDIFF
MINIMISING THE RISK
- Prevent biting insects from reaching your bunny:
- Insect screens
- Eliminate standing water
- Check your hay source is mite/flea free
- Regularly check your bunny/cat/dog for fleas and mites
- Keep wild rabbits and hares out of the garden
IF YOU SUSPECT YOUR BUNNY HAS MYXOMATOSIS, ASK YOUR VET TO CHECK IT OUT IMMEDIATELY
SUMMERWOOD VETERINARY SURGERY offer Myxomatosis vaccinations.
To book your bunny in for a health check and vaccination call us on: 01495 222383