Vaccinations For Rabbits To Prevent Diseases

Vaccinating Your Rabbit
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Vaccination is very important when it comes to proactively providing healthcare to your rabbit. It helps to protect your rabbits from two critical viral infections or diseases called myxomatosis and rabbit viral haemorrhagic disease (RVHD). RVHD is almost always fatal whereas recovery from the myxomatosis disease is rare but possible. The authorized vaccinations has proven to be of high standards and quality ensuring safety and efficacy, as assessed by a group of veterinary regulators.

The best way to protect your rabbits from those two deadly diseases is by vaccinating them. If your rabbit is not yet vaccinated, they can be at almost any age, book your appointment with your local vet to discuss an appropriate vaccination schedule.

Rabbit Viral Haemorrhagic Disease (RVHD)

This viral disease is widespread amongst the wild rabbits far more than the domestic rabbits. Over the years, many affected rabbits were found dead with no obvious signs but there is a clear sign of bleeding from their mouth, nose and anus before death. The death was a result of massive internal bleeding.

How To Prevent RVHD

RVHD virus can survive in any natural environment and easily be transported to objects. It’s very difficult to curb this virus or stop from wide-spreading and affecting your pet. Stopping insects or any forms of transmission is not 100% humanly possible. Vaccination is, therefore, the only measure that can be taken to prevent any effect of the virus on your pet.

Although, as an extra effort, you can make sure the environment your rabbit lives in is clean and disinfected using rabbit-safe disinfectants. Typically, keep anything that can harbor virus clean e.g. water bowls, bottles, second-hand hutches, etc.

Rabbit vaccinations can be given from the age of five weeks and boosters can be given as needed every year of their life.


Myxomatosis is a disease to which all domesticated breeds including rabbits as well as wild animals are at risk. This viral disease is typically spread by blood-sucking insects including rabbit fleas, mosquitos and mites and by direct contact with infected rabbits. It is widespread in wild rabbits than the domestic ones.

Even domestic rabbits are at potential risk of this infection as the disease can be carried over long distances by insects, which can then come into contact with indoor as well as outdoor rabbits. The disease is frequently fatal and so vaccination, along with flea control, good husbandry and stress reduction, is recommended.

The most obvious signs of disease are:

• Conjunctivitis (red, runny eyes)

• Puffy swellings around the ears, eyes, nose, mouth, anus and genitals

• High fever

• Difficulty seeing (Near blindness)

• Difficulty in eating, drinking and breathing due to swelling and secretions

The lifespan of most rabbits once affected by this disease is reduced to 14 days of becoming ill. This is a chronic disease but the likability of it happening to pet rabbits is very little.

Preventing myxomatosis

Vaccination against myxomatosis is strongly recommended. Although, in some cases, it is observed that vaccine is not 100% effective, but it does reduce disease severity and makes recovery much more likely. You can also reduce your rabbits’ risk by:

• Keep their habitat clean and hygienic

• Control flea infestations and use insect-proof screens to deter flies and mosquitoes

• Quarantine sick rabbits and reduce exposure to them

• Prevent your pet rabbit from making contact with wild rabbits

• Cut down contact with other rabbits during a myxomatosis outbreak

A quick look at what you should ask the pet expert:

At Rabbit Vaccination Appointment

During your appointment, instead of a quick injection with vaccination, the vet will weigh your rabbit and perform a thorough medical examination which includes inspecting their teeth for decay as well. Your vet will probably ask you lots of questions about how your pet has been behaving, and about any changes you have noticed, and specific topics such as their eating and drinking habits. The doctor is trained to spot subtle changes and diagnose them to learn what is happening and where your rabbit needs help.

It’s the best opportunity to share any concerns you may have and the vet will answer them and help you find a way to manage them. Once through the thorough examination and the Q&A session, the vet will administer your rabbit with the needed vaccination. The injection is given under the skin at the back of the neck, and is well tolerated by the vast majority of rabbits.

Bottom Line

Protecting your rabbit is your responsibility and thus, taking the right decision at the right time to get them vaccinated is important. Vaccinating your rabbits against RVHD and myxomatosis is the only way to protect them against these diseases, both of which cause extreme suffering and fatal death. If your rabbits aren’t up to date with their vaccinations, book an appointment with your vet and get the required vaccines in them before it becomes too late.

A vaccination appointment not only helps to protect your pet against infectious diseases, it also enables us as pet owners to discuss any concerns with the veterinary doctor. This also allows the vet to perform a full health examination and diagnose any issues that need to be addressed, nipping potential problems in the bud.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

– Do rabbits need vaccinations?

While it’s not the law to vaccinate pet rabbits, we strongly advise vaccinating your rabbit to protect them against fatal diseases like myxomatosis and rabbit viral haemorrhagic disease.

– When should I vaccinate my rabbit?

Your rabbit can be vaccinated from five weeks old with the combined Myxomatosis RHD Plus vaccine and immunity takes three weeks to develop. This vaccination gives protection against the three main rabbit diseases – Myxomatosis, Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease 1 (RHD1) and Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease 2 (RHD2). Earlier, two separate vaccinations were needed, but there is now a single vaccine available.

To keep their immunity topped up your pet will need a yearly booster vaccination.


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