Rabbit Vaccination

At Frontier Veterinary Services we vaccinate rabbits against two diseases. These are myxomatosis and VHD. Both diseases are fatal and so vaccination for all rabbits, even house rabbits, is recommended.

Before any vaccination is given a full clinical examination is performed to check your rabbit’s health and this is also an opportunity for you to discuss any concerns you may have.

What is Myxomatosis?

Myxomatosis is a viral disease which causes reduced appetite, depression and a high temperature. Signs seen include swelling of the eyes, as well as sticky discharges around the eyes, nose and genital areas. Treatment is rarely successful.

Myxomatosis is spread by biting insects, usually fleas or mosquitoes. Therefore even if a rabbit has no direct contact with other rabbits it will still be at risk. Even house rabbits can be bitten by flying insects.

Your rabbit can be vaccinated from 6 weeks of age. The vaccination is repeated every 6 months. Occasionally a small lump may come up at the injection site a week or so after injection. This should settle down over the following few weeks with no treatment.

What is VHD?

Viral haemorrhagic disease (VHD) is a viral disease, which is rapidly fatal. As it progresses so quickly, often the first clinical sign of VHD is a dead rabbit. Otherwise, affected animals may be found depressed, collapsed and/ or with haemorrhagic (bloody) diarrhoea.

VHD is spread through direct contact with an infected animal or by contaminated items which have come into contact with a diseased animal. The virus is very hardy and survives for a long time in the environment – this means that it can be brought into your home or garden on contaminated clothes, shoes, food and bedding.

Vaccination can start at 10 to 12 weeks of age. Annual booster vaccinations are required. The vaccination for VHD cannot be given at the same time as that for Myxomatosis. We leave a two week gap between the vaccinations.

A small lump may appear at the vaccination site which should settle in a couple of weeks. Some rabbits may also have a slight temperature for a few days after vaccination – if so; they may be a little bit quiet and slightly off their food.