This is a common disease in the wild rabbit population and is used by man in some countries to control the numbers of wild rabbits. This is a viral disease that attacks all body organs, starting with the eyes, face and skin. Affected rabbits quickly become debilitated and unable to eat. New strains of the virus have been introduced in recent years producing epidemics of the disease. The virus is spread by biting insects (fleas and mosquitos): In this way domestic rabbits (even house rabbits) can easily contract infection from the wild rabbit population. While flea control and good hutch hygiene help to reduce the chances of exposure, vaccination is the best way to prevent infection. Rabbits can be vaccinated from 6 weeks of age. We recommend a booster every 6 months.
Viral Haemorrhagic Disease
This disease first appeared in Britain in the early 1990’s and has now spread throughout the country. It can be blown on the wind, so all rabbits are potentially at risk. As its name suggests it is a viral disease which causes bleeding. Affected rabbits can bleed from all body orifices and death rapidly occurs. Sometimes the disease can progress to death very quickly (in as little as 24 hours) and there are very few warning signs. The vaccination provides solid protection for a 12 month period and is the only way to prevent infection with this disease. Rabbits can be vaccinated from 10 weeks of age but there has to be a gap of at least 2 weeks between vaccination against Viral Haemorrhagic Disease and Myxomatosis. They require booster vaccinations every year.
Flea control and reducing flies around your rabbit’s hutch are important in preventing these diseases.