Rabbit Vaccinations

When rabbits are born they have some immunity which has come from their mothers. This gives them the antibodies that allow them to fight diseases they encounter but over time this immunity reduces, which is where vaccination becomes important.

Why Is Vaccination Important?

Vaccination will stimulate your rabbit’s own immunity and hence provide protection.

In rabbits a yearly booster vaccination is usually recommended but this may depend on risk factors.

What Do We Vaccinate Against?

There are two main diseases we vaccinate against in Rabbits:

  • Myxomatosis
  • Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease (RHD) also known as Viral Haemorrhagic Disease (VHD)

Both of these diseases are usually fatal and in the case of RHD can often result in sudden death

  • Myxomatosis
    This is a highly infectious viral disease which is mainly spread by blood sucking insects particularly the rabbit flea. Direct contact with infected rabbits can also spread the disease through secretions. The incubation period can be 5-14 days.

    All pet rabbits are at risk. Myxomatosis usually starts with swelling round the eyes and an ocular discharge. Swelling can then develop round the nose, lips, ears, genitalia and anus. They will often become listless and have problems eating and drinking. There are instances where rabbits have survived myxomatosis but as there is no specific treatment this can require 6-8 weeks of intensive care which can be distressing for both owners and rabbits alike.

    Vaccinating against myxomatosis although is not 100% guaranteed protection, although the disease is milder and vaccinated rabbits will usually survive

  • Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease
    This is again a viral infection and unfortunately usually results in a sudden unexplained death with rabbits having shown no clinical signs.

    How Is It Spread?

    • By direct contact with infected rabbits through nasal, oral or conjunctival routes
    • From contaminated food, bedding or water
    • Transmission via flies or other insects.

    The incubation period of RHD is as quick as 1-4 days.

    There are two strains of Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease:

    RHD1 is the original strain and is rarely seen in rabbits under 8-10 weeks

    RHD2 is the newer strain and cases have been reported since 2013 in the UK, this can affect rabbits of any age. There have been some reports of rabbits recovering from this new strain but these rabbits remain infectious for longer periods, resulting in more risk of spreading disease.

    Diagnosis of RHD is very difficult especially with the new strain and it is often found at post-mortem after a sudden death. Signs that may be seen are lethargy and fever, reduced appetite and bleeding from the nose or bottom. Very often those rabbits infected with the new strain may not show these symptoms.

Vaccination Protocol

To give full protection against both Myxomatosis and RHD 1 and 2 two injections are required.

Myxo-RHD: this gives protection against myxomatosis and RHD 1. A single injection is given from 5 weeks of age, immunity is achieved three weeks later and lasts for 1 year. Annual vaccinations are recommended

Filavac: this gives protection against the new strain of RHD. It is a single injection from 10 weeks of age, immunity is achieved one week later. Annual vaccinations are recommended unless in a high-risk area in which vaccines every 6 months would be advised.

Unfortunately, these vaccines cannot be given together and there must be an interval of two weeks between.

Contact your local practice for any further information or to arrange a vaccination appointment.

Our Practices

Pride Veterinary Centre

01332 678333
Riverside Road, Pride Park, Derby DE24 8HX
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Duffield

01332 841700
15 Town Street, Duffield, Derby DE56 4EH
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Hilton

01283 732999
6 Witham Close, Egginton Road, Hilton DE65 5JR
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Mickleover

01332 518585
73 Devonshire Drive, Mickleover, Derby DE3 9HD
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Oakwood

01332 666500
Unit 9, Oakwood District Centre, Oakwood, Derby DE21 2HT
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Park Farm

01332 554422
Park Farm Centre, Allestree, Derby DE22 2QQ
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Shelton Lock

01332 700321
247 Chellaston Road, Shelton Lock, Derby DE24 9EG
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Stapenhill

01283 568162
90 Spring Terrace Road, Stapenhill, Burton on Trent DE15 9DX
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Stretton

01283 565333
36 The Green, Stretton, Burton on Trent DE13 0EQ
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Save money on vaccinations

Annual booster vaccinations and additional HVD vaccination included with VIP Rabbit Club membership

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