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.
Currently in order to be fully protected your rabbits will require two separate vaccinations, which should be given two weeks apart. One vaccination protects against Myxo/RVHDV1, whilst the other protects against either RVHD1/RVHDV2 or RVHD2 alone.
In most cases you will be advised to take your rabbits for boosters of both vaccinations once a year.
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 (in the poster opposite) sadly didn't survive. We can't exaggerate how horrendous this easily preventable virus is!