Vaccinations For Rabbits
Both indoor and outdoor rabbits require vaccinations to keep them safe from infectious disease. Young rabbits are particularly vulnerable to serious illnesses, so it’s important to get them vaccinated early. Rabbits can be vaccinated from five weeks old and will need yearly booster vaccinations throughout their life to maintain immunity. Vaccine appointments always include a full clinical examination, so are a great opportunity to make sure your rabbit is in the best health possible.
Rabbit vaccinations protect against two important diseases:
Myxomatosis causes swelling of the eyes and genitals, weakness, blindness and death. It is transmitted by mosquitoes and other biting insects, so both indoor and outdoor rabbits can be affected. Infected rabbits also shed the virus on to their surroundings. It is very prevalent in the wild rabbit population and the virus can easily be brought inside on shoes or clothing.
Viral Haemorrhagic Disease (VHD)
VHD can cause serious disease such as bleeding, but in many rabbits causes "sudden death" without obvious illness first. Most of these rabbits are buried at home and not taken to the vet, so we suspect incidence of VHD is much higher than reported. VHD is also spread by biting insects as well as on objects including clothing and shoes. Two variants of VHD can be vaccinated against; VHD-1 and VHD-2.
Vaccination against myxomatosis, VHD-1 and VHD-2 is now available in one single injection. In some cases, two separate injections may be required initially to ensure rabbits respond correctly, however your vet will be able to advise you.
If you have an older rabbit, it is not too late to start a vaccination programme. Older rabbits often have a weaker immune system, so it is especially important to give them a helping hand and keep their boosters up to date.
Essential annual rabbit vaccinations are included in The Healthy Pet Club membership - please contact your practice to discuss and book your rabbit's vaccinations.
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