Myxomatosis and Rabbit Viral Haemorrhagic Disease (RHD)

Soya and Danielle

Myxomatosis

Myxomatosis is a virus spread by fleas, mites and mosquitoes. Symptoms include puffy swellings around the face, blindness, high fever and usually death within 10-14 days. This condition is widespread in British wild rabbits. Since the disease us spread by biting insects, even indoor rabbits can be, and often are infected. There is no specific treatment and recovery is rare. It is therefore important to focus on prevention and protection.

Rabbit Viral Haemorrhagic Disease is also prevalent in British wild rabbits. It causes high fever, internal bleeding and liver disease. It is almost always fatal. Pet rabbits may be found dead with bloodstained fluid at their nose or no other visible signs. It is spread by rabbit-to-rabbit contact and persists in the environment (eg carriers). There is no treatment so vaccination is essential.

Prevention and protection

Rabbits should be vaccinated against Myxomatosis and Rabbit (Viral) Haemorrhagic Disease, to help protect against possible suffering. There is a new vaccination which combines Myxomatosis and RHD. This only needs to be given annually but we recommend a 6 month check up too as a lot can change in 6 months.

Ensure your pets are treated for fleas, as infection can be spread by insects. You should also regularly clean and disinfect your rabbit’s enclosure. If possible, prevent contact with wild or affected domestic rabbits and keep hutches away from ponds that may collect mosquitoes.

If you would like any more information then phone 01621 818282 (Tiptree Veterinary Centre) or 01206 561407 (Willows Veterinary Centre) to book an appointment with one of our vets. You can also visit our websites at http://www.tiptreevets.co.uk or http://www.willows-vets.co.uk

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