Pet Rabbits are at risk of two diseases, both spread by midges. Viral Haemorrhagic Disease(VHD) and Myxomatosis. (Myxy)
Both diseases are fatal if contracted.
Viral Haemorrhagic Disease is split into two strains VHD-1 and VHD-2. VHD is usually the cause of sudden death in an otherwise apparently healthy young rabbit, normally there is not time for a pet owner to notice any other signs of the disease, it acts so quickly.
Myxomatosis is a disease that is equally as fatal but takes a longer time and is very hard on the rabbit. It was introduced deliberately into the wild rabbit population in several countries including Ireland around the 1950s as a way of controlling the population. However it is a cruel and long drawn out way to do so as unlike VHD rabbits can take up to 14 days to pass away and suffer immensely during this time. They present with a classic white discharge from the eyes and are very dull, and reluctant to move they may have skin lumps depending on how long they have been infected. It is important for rabbit owners to know the signs in case they come across a wild rabbit suffering in this way. In cases of myxy the kindest thing is to euthanase the rabbit, be it a wild rabbit or a pet.
Both of these viruses can be vaccinated against with highly effective yearly vaccines. Petcare Vets provides annual vaccination against VHD -1 and VHD -2 as well as Myxomatosis for €11 per month see ……….
Rabbit kittens can be vaccinated from 10 weeks of age and get two shots two weeks apart. The first is for Myxomatosis and VHD-1 and the second is for VHD 2 . They are then covered for one year and need to get the same two shots to keep the cover unbroken. With changing weather conditions midges can be present at most times of the year and so due to the serious nature of the dieases it is recommended to keep the cover unbroken year round.
Vaccines are covered in all of our PetCare plans and we can send you reminders too!