Getting your pet rabbit vaccinated is important for its overall health so it's important to know all about rabbit vaccinations and why your rabbit needs them. Our Torrance vets will provide you with information on rabbit vaccinations.
About Rabbit Vaccinations
Vaccinations are simple, and before your bunny is vaccinated it will also receive a full check-up from our Torrance vets. This is an important opportunity for the vet to notice any visible health problems which may be developing, talk with you about any concerns you may have about your pet, and make sure you have all the information on the best care for your rabbit.
While it's not the law to vaccinate pet rabbits, we strongly advise vaccinating your rabbit to protect them against sometimes fatal diseases. Keeping your annual vaccination appointment every year is really important for both you and your rabbit.
Why Is It Important To Vaccinate Rabbits
Rabbits need vaccinations to protect against 3 potentially serious diseases: myxomatosis, Rabbit (Viral) Haemorrhagic Disease (R(V)HD), and a strain of R(V)HD - R(V)HD2, all of which are often fatal and cause intense suffering to rabbits.
Myxomatosis is a virus spread by blood-sucking insects such as fleas, mites, or mosquitoes, and it's widespread in British wild rabbits. It can also be spread by contact between infected rabbits and can contaminate objects or the environment, such as bedding, furniture, grass, etc.
Symptoms of myxomatosis can take up to 14 days to appear but you may notice puffy eyes, face, ears, and eyes. This can cause blindness in your bunny. Anal glands can be affected by swelling as well. You will also start to notice your rabbit has a fever and they have difficulty eating and drinking.
Unfortunately, the disease is often fatal, generally killing your rabbit within 10-14 days. There's no specific treatment, and sadly, recovery is rare. This means that putting the rabbit to sleep is often the kindest option when they become infected.
Rabbit (Viral) Haemorrhagic Disease (R(V)HD)
Rabbit (Viral) Haemorrhagic Disease is widespread in Britain's wild rabbits. It's very serious, causing high fever, internal bleeding, and liver disease. The disease doesn't affect rabbits under six weeks but causes severe disease in older rabbits. Like myxomatosis, it spreads by rabbit-to-rabbit contact, through contaminated objects or environments, and via insects. Unfortunately, the disease is almost always fatal.
Pet rabbits with this disease are often found dead with blood-stained fluid at their mouth and nose, or there may be no visible signs, with the cause of death only confirmed by a post-mortem. There's no effective treatment, so vaccination is essential.
R(V)HD2 was first detected in France in 2010 and has been in the UK since 2013, with confirmed cases seen across the country. R(V)HD2 has a lower mortality rate than R(V)HD, but often the only sign seen is sudden death.
It spreads in the same way as R(V)HD1, but rabbits of all ages can be affected. There's no specific treatment, and although some rabbits can recover from infection, it's fatal in many cases. Vaccination is therefore essential.
Preventing Diseases In Rabbits
Keep your rabbit disease free and happy by remembering the following tips:
- Give regular boosters throughout your rabbit's life; see your vet arrange this.
- Controlling insects may reduce infection risk. Deter flies and mosquitoes, for example by using insect-proof screens. Ensure your home and all pets are treated for fleas as advised by your vet. Fleas from cats and dogs can infect rabbits.
- Regularly clean and disinfect your rabbits' enclosure and any areas they access, using a rabbit-safe disinfectant. Change bedding and litter regularly. Never use housing or bedding from any rabbits who could have had these infections.
- Prevent contact with affected domestic rabbits and all wild rabbits. Don't allow your rabbits to go into any areas where they've been.