Myxomatosis & VHD vaccinations


Myxomatosis is a severe viral disease that can cause immense suffering and pain – which unfortunately effects thousands of pet and wild rabbits every year. Infected rabbits can suffer for up to 2 weeks and treatment is usually futile. Symptoms usually start with runny sticky eyes and the genitals become swollen. The eyes become swollen and severe conjunctivitis causes blindness. There may also be some lump like swellings to the head and a thick pus from the nose and eyes. All in all its a horrific painful death and one which we see far too often.

Myxomatosis is spread and contracted via biting insects such as fleas and mosquitoes, it can also be spread via the Cheyletiella fur mite also known as ‘walking dandruff’. Because of this risk it is vital to treat your pets, including rabbits with a suitable flea treatment.

Rabbit Viral Hemorrhagic Disease (VHD) is a highly contagious disease caused by a calicivirus which affects the internal organs of the rabbit causing these to haemorrhage – the resulting blood loss is impossible to control. The liver and kidneys are usually the first organs to be affected followed by the intestines and trachea. VHD is often a very swift and sudden killer, giving little warning. Rabbits may die without showing any symptoms at all. Some bleeding from the nose, mouth and rectum is sometimes seen.

Symptoms may include:
•Loss of appetite
•High Fever
•Sudden death

VHD can be spread by:
•Contact of a rabbit with inanimate objects contaminated by the virus (i.e. via fomites). Such object would include clothing, shoes, and car and truck tires.
•Direct contact of a rabbit with an infected rabbit or the feces of an infected rabbit.
•Contact with rabbit products such as fur, meat or wool from infected rabbits.
•Insects, birds, and animals such as rodents are known to spread the virus by acting as indirect hosts. They can transport the disease, for example, from an infected rabbit to an unaffected rabbit.
•Humans can spread the virus to their rabbits if they have been in contact with infected rabbits or in contact with objects contaminated by the virus, including feces from an infected rabbit.

At St Clair we recommend that your rabbits are vaccinated yearly with a combination VHD and Myxomatosis vaccine. This vaccination is vital as part of the package of protective measures you can use to protect your rabbits. Un-vaccinated rabbits very rarely survive a case of myxomatosis & VHD. Prevention is better than cure, and we cannot stress enough the importance of routine vaccinations in your pet bunnies.

If your rabbit is not vaccinated, this puts them in serious risk of contracting these life threatening diseases. To book an appointment for your rabbits vaccine, please call us on 01670 457271.

Remember.. prevention is ALWAYS better than cure!!