Are your rabbits up to date with their vaccinations?

Sadly, there are two fatal viruses which can infect rabbits (both wild and domestic) in the UK; Myxomatosis and Rabbit haemorrhagic disease. These viruses pose a huge threat to all pet rabbits, and are a genuine cause for concern. The good news though is that you can keep your rabbits safe by ensuring that they are up to date with their annual vaccinations.

As a responsible rabbit owner, you should be making sure that your rabbits have been vaccinated against Myxomatosis and Rabbit haemorrhagic disease. Rabbit haemorrhagic disease (RVHD1) has a variant strain (RVHD2) which your rabbits will also need to be vaccinated against.

There is currently a triple vaccine to protect against Myxo/RVHD1/RVHD2. However, in some cases your rabbit may need to be given two different vaccines two weeks apart in order to be fully protected. A rabbit friendly vet can advise you which will be most appropriate for your rabbit's circumstances. You will need to take your rabbits for a vaccination booster once a year. This can be a great chance for your rabbit to get a health check.

Having experienced both RVHD2 and myxomatosis here at our rescue sanctuary we know first-hand just how real and devastating these viruses are. We tragically lost some of our beloved sanctuary rabbits at the end of 2015 to RVHD2 (including Christian shown below). This was prior to a vaccination being available in this country (only the mxyo/RVHD1 vaccination was available at that time which our rabbits had all received). We are so grateful to now have a vaccination available to keep our current residents safe and protected against this variant strain.

We have also tragically had to nurse a rabbit who joined us infected by the myxomatosis virus. Narayah above sadly didn't survive. We can't exaggerate how horrendous this easily preventable virus is!

Key points:

  • Your rabbits will need to be taken for vaccination boosters annually.
  • Both outdoor rabbits and house rabbits should be vaccinated.
  • Your rabbits do not need to come in contact with another infected rabbit to be at risk!

For detailed information please visit these excellent pages:

Rabbit Welfare Association - Vaccinations

Frances Harcourt Brown - Mxyomatosis and Rabbit haemorrhagic disease