RVHD and Myxomatosis

As spring approaches, rabbits in Bromsgrove, Hagley, Rubery and across Worcestershire are all at greater risk of contracting often fatal diseases.  

Alun, our Head Vet, says it is vital that all domestic rabbit’s vaccinations are kept up to date annually. So, if you know your rabbit’s jabs are overdue or you’re unsure, then please call us and we’ll book your pet in for a vaccination.

Book a rabbit vaccination

Alun is keen to remind all rabbit owners that vaccinations are the only viable protection for your rabbits against killers like Myxomatosis and Rabbit Viral Haemorrhagic Disease (RVHD).  

How are Myxomatosis and RVHD contracted?

Despite the common misconception, domestic pets do not need to be in contact with wild rabbits to catch Myxomatosis or RVHD. Myxomatosis is passed through fleas, mosquitos, midges, and mites, whilst RVHD can be carried in feed, on bedding, by wild birds and insects, and on the shoes of rabbit owners who have been walking in an infected area. Both diseases spread quickly once in a population of rabbits.   

What are the symptoms of Myxomatosis and RVHD?

Symptoms of Myxomatosis include nasal and eye discharge, eye inflammation leading to blindness, swelling, redness/ulcers, problems breathing, appetite loss, and lethargy. Symptoms of R-VHD include respiratory distress, fever, appetite loss, lethargy, convulsions, paralysis, and bleeding from the eyes, nose, ears, or anus before death. If you see any of these symptoms, you should call us immediately. However, in many cases, sudden death occurs before any clinical signs.  

There are two strains: RVHD-1 and RVHD-2, the difference being that the latter can develop slower in some cases, with symptoms, which may also include weight loss and jaundice due to liver disease, showing for longer. 

Emergency contact

How can we treat Myxomatosis and RVHD?

Both diseases are practically un-treatable, and both are almost always fatal, sometimes within hours.  Combine this with the fact that they are also very easily transmitted (even to indoor pets) and you’ll realise why it’s so important that your pet is protected with an annual vaccination. Rabbits can be vaccinated from the age of five weeks. 

Help prevent the spread of these diseases

Alun advises that as well as vaccination, there are a few other ways to reduce the chances of infection: 

  1. Always wash your hands before & after handling rabbits.  
  2. Do your best to protect them from biting insects by putting mosquito netting around the hutch.  
  3. If you allow your rabbits to exercise outside, avoid letting them out in the early morning or late afternoon when mosquitoes are more prevalent.  
  4. Finally, talk to our team about flea prevention for your rabbit. 

But most of all, if you know your rabbit’s jabs are not up to date, please book an appointment as soon as possible at any of our three practices.

Book a rabbit vaccination