We vaccinate many rabbits each year against two main diseases. These are Myxomatosis and Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease. Both these diseases have been known to rapidly decimate large populations of wild rabbits.
Myxomatosis is spread by bites from infected rabbit fleas. It causes blistering and swelling around the eyes, mouth and genitalia and is a rapidly debilitating disease. Recovery in the wild occasionally occurs but for animals with severe signs death usually occurs about 12 days after initial infection. Once diagnosed euthanasia is often recommended to end suffering.
The first known case of haemorrhagic disease in the UK was seen in 1994, having been identified in China in 1984. It is easily spread between rabbits through close contact of by contact with shared food or water bowls. We don’t often see cases presented as death is generally very rapid within hours of the illness starting.
We use a combined vaccine to protect pet rabbits against both of these illnesses. It requires a booster vaccine every year, which we combine with a general health check-up.
For further reading about pet vaccines and disease you may wish to explore this website – www.future-of-vaccination.co.uk.