By vaccinating your rabbit, not only do you have peace of mind knowing that your pet is protected, it also helps prevent the spread of diseases.
What Is A Vaccine?
A vaccination is an injection designed to make a rabbit’s immune system create antibodies against specific infections.
How Do Vaccines Work?
When we give a vaccination to your rabbit, we are injecting a small dose of a harmless version of the virus we want to protect your rabbit against. This allows the body to produce a protective response without having been in contact with a dangerous form of the disease.
Once your rabbit has responded to the vaccine, if it comes in to contact with the virus in later life it will have natural protection also known as immunity.
What Are The Main Things That The Injection Vaccinates Rabbits Against?
The two main that we vaccinate against are;
- Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease (RHD) – both strains 1 and 2
How Many Vaccinations Does a Rabbit Need To Begin With & How Often After That Does The Rabbit Need To Be Vaccinated?
Rabbits should be vaccinated against Myxomatosis and both strains of Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease (RHD) aka Vial Haemorrhagic Disease (VHD).
There are two vaccines available to protect rabbits:
- Myxo-RHD – gives protection against myxomatosis and RHD 1. A single injection is given from 5 weeks of age and immunity is achieved three weeks later. The immunity lasts for 1 year so annual vaccinations are recommended.
- ERAVAC – gives protection against the new strain of RHD (RHD2). A single injection is given from the age of 30 days and immunity is achieved one week later. The immunity lasts for 9 months so re-vaccination every 9 months is recommended.
These two vaccines cannot be given together so we advise an interval of two weeks between vaccines.
At What Age Can Rabbits Start Their Vaccinations?
- Myxo-RHD vaccination can start from 5 weeks old
- ERAVAC vaccination can start form 30 days old
Will Vaccination Hurt My Rabbit?
There may be some mild discomfort associated with the injection although we do use small needles.
Do Rabbit Vaccinations Have Any Side Effects?
Vaccine reactions are uncommon and usually mild. They may include swelling or firmness at the site of the injection, which will settle in time. If it does not, we advise that you get the swelling checked as in some rare cases it may develop in to something more serious.
If your rabbit shows shows any signs of being unwell after vaccinations, please contact us immediately.
My Rabbit Doesn’t Come In To Contact With Other Rabbits, Do I Still Need To Get It Vaccinated?
It is still advisable that rabbits are vaccinated, even if they don’t come in to contact with other rabbits. Direct contact with infected rabbits and their secretions is only one of the ways that these diseases can be spread.
- Myxomatosis – predominantly spread by blood sucking insects, particularly the flea, which can be found on other animals.
- Rabbit Haemorrhagic Diseases – can be spread by flies and other insects as well as contaminated foods, bedding and water.
I Don’t Know If My New Rabbit Has Been Fully Vaccinated. What Do I Do?
If your rabbit has come to you with no vaccination history it is usually better to assume that they have not had vaccines and start the course of vaccines again. This way you know they are fully protected.
Can My Rabbit Be Vaccinated If They Are On Medication?
Depending on what medication your rabbit is on, it is often possible to continue with their vaccine as normal.
Medicines that affect the immune system may affect the response they get to the vaccinations so they may have to be delayed.
We would always advise discussing with your vet when vaccines are due if your rabbit is on medication.
Can My Rabbit Be Vaccinated If They Are Unwell?
Your rabbit can’t be vaccinated if it is unwell. It needs to be fit and well when we give them their vaccinations to ensure that they obtain the correct immune response.
Can My Pregnant Rabbit Be Vaccinated?
It may be possible to vaccinate them at certain times during pregnancy. We recommend you check your rabbit’s vaccination status if you are thinking of breeding from them and ensure they are fully up to date with vaccines prior to pregnancy to ensure they are fully protected.