There are several highly infectious and potentially fatal diseases that affect rabbits.
Fortunately, rabbits can be vaccinated against two of these – Myxomatosis and Viral Haemorrhagic Disease. All rabbits, even those kept indoors, should be vaccinated against these diseases because they can still become infected.
We recommend that rabbits are vaccinated against myxomatosis and viral haemorrhagic disease (VHD).
Previously this would have been administered through two separate injections, however our new rabbit vaccination means that your pet can be protected against myxomatosis and both strains of VHD with just a single injection.
Myxomatosis is a disease caused by the myxoma virus. It only affects rabbits, but both wild and pet rabbits are susceptible. The virus causes severe swelling of the eyelids, lips and genitals.
Wild rabbits suffering from this condition usually fall victim to predators such as foxes, or are hit by cars. Pet rabbits can occasionally recover from the condition with very intensive nursing, but in most cases the disease is fatal.
The myxoma virus is transmitted between animals by biting insects, including fleas and mosquitoes. Cats often pick up fleas and will bring these into the garden or inside the house. Therefore, even if your rabbit lives indoors or if you live in the town far from places where wild rabbits live, your pet rabbit could still be at risk.
Viral Haemorrhagic Disease (VHD or HVD)
This is a particularly nasty viral disease which reached the UK in 1992, and, like myxomatosis, only affects rabbits. It is caused by a highly contagious virus which can be transmitted directly between individual rabbits, or spread on contaminated equipment, clothing and footwear.
Insects, rodents and birds may also be able to carry the virus and infect isolated rabbits (such as pet rabbits).
VHD is nearly always fatal. It causes massive bleeding (haemorrhage) from the internal organs, and animals die as a result of the overwhelming blood loss, often very suddenly.
Spread the cost of essential healthcare for your rabbit with Woodward's Loyalty Discount Plan
Our Woodward Loyalty Plan offers the best value way to vaccinate your rabbit to ensure they have the preventative health protection they need over the course of their lifetime. Being a member allows you the opportunity to spread the cost over 12 months whilst also receiving discounts on other services at Woodward Veterinary Practice.
If you would like further information on vaccination programmes for your pet, or our Loyalty Discount Plan please click here.
Do house rabbits need to be vaccinated?
Although your rabbit may not go outside, it is still possible for diseases to be brought into the house. This could be via soil on a dirty boot or via other wildlife that could enter the home. Vaccinations are essential for protecting your rabbit from an array of potentially deadly and debilitating diseases, including viral haemorrhagic disease (VHD 1 and 2) and myxomatosis. Therefore, having full vaccination will provide the protection needed for all circumstances, meaning you don’t have to worry about your rabbit's health.
How often does my rabbit need to be vaccinated?
Depending on the disease that your rabbit is being vaccinated against, the period of time that they are protected will differ. Certain diseases only carry around 12 months of protection, which is why a yearly booster is recommended. Even though your pet might be being vaccinated every 12 months, it is not always against the same diseases – your vaccination card will show you which diseases they are getting boosters for each visit. Visiting us every 12 months for vaccinations also means your rabbit gets a full annual health check, which is equally important!
I have heard that vaccines are risky and to avoid them – is that true?
Any veterinary procedure that is performed can carry some sort of risk, however, in the case of vaccinations, it is important to remember that for the majority of pets the benefits of being vaccinated greatly outweighs the risks. Vaccination reactions are rare and where they do occur, they are mostly short-term and mild. Reactions of this nature show that the vaccine is effectively stimulating the immune system. The team at Woodward Veterinary Practice are always happy to talk to you about the benefits and risks associated with vaccinating your pet to help identify the most suitable strategy as part of their wider preventative healthcare programme.
With the current COVID restrictions, are you accepting appointments for vaccinations?
We are continuing to offer a full range of services for our patients, whilst adhering to COVID-19 safety guidelines. To find out about our practice updates during COVID, please click here for more information.