We have had a recent suspected cases of rabbit viral haemorrhagic disease type 2 (RHD2) at the practice and so strongly encourage all our clients to make sure their rabbits are fully vaccinated. Whether housed indoors or outdoors, young or old, rabbits should receive two injections every year to be fully protected – one vaccinating them against Myxomatosis and RHD1 and one vaccinating them against RHD2, these are given at least two weeks apart.
RHD2 is currently the most likely cause of sudden death in unvaccinated rabbits.
The myxomatosis/RHD1 vaccination will offer no protection against it.
What is RHD2?
It’s a new variant of Rabbit viral haemorrhagic disease and was first seen in the UK in 2015. It is caused by a virus which is now widespread throughout the UK, including Devon. It is highly infectious and can kill within hours. Rabbits may show symptoms of lethargy, inappetance, fever, neu-rological signs or bleeding but in some cases they may show no symptoms at all.
My rabbit doesn’t meet any other animals, surely they can’t get infected? Sadly, yes they can.
The virus spreads through:
- Plant material Including hay, bedding, forage.
- Insects and Birds including droppings or regurgitated pellets
- Hands, clothes, soles of shoes or car tyres of an owner or visitor that has been near or interacting with an unvaccinated, infected rabbit.
- Fur or feet of other pets either belonging to the owner or visitors.
- Direct contact with an infected wild/new pet rabbit or their droppings
If my rabbit gets infected can you cure them?
We can try. There is no specific treatment but supportive care can be provided, however 25-50% of those infected will sadly die from the disease.
So how can I protect my pet?
Vaccinate! This is the safest and most effective way to protect your rabbit. It is estimated that half a million rabbits in the UK had no vaccination course when they were young – let’s change this.
Save on the cost of treatment and the potential heartbreak of losing a sick pet – don’t delay vaccinate today!
Contact the practice on 01395 264747 for more information including details of offers available throughout June in support of rabbit awareness week