Have you ever wondered why it is important for your rabbit to have annual vaccinations? Carry on reading to find out and to find out what diseases they protect along with symptoms of these diseases.
There are three diseases that are potentially deadly to rabbits if not treated in good time so why not put your mind at risk and protect them? Prevention is better and safer than cure. The three diseases are Myxomatosis, RVHD1 and RVHD2.
This is also known as Myxo. It is spread by biting/blood sucking insects such as fleas, ticks and mosquitoes. It can also be spread by items that are contaminated such as bowls, bedding and bottles. Wild rabbits can also carry and spread this. Symptoms of myxomatosis: • Difficulty in breathing
• Swelling around the eyes and ears • Discharge from the eyes • Swelling around the rear (genitals and anus) • Reduced appetite
It can take up to 14 days to see any symptoms after a rabbit has been infected, it is very often fatal to rabbits who are unvaccinated. The reason for this, there is no specific treatment. It is best to understand that even if your rabbit is vaccinated they can still get infected but if they are they will have mild symptoms and a stronger chance of surviving with the help of vet care, this should however been seen as an emergency.
Rabbit Viral Haemorrhagic Disease (RVHD)
There are two different strains of RVHD and is seen more in wild rabbits. Once infected the disease will affect the internal organs which will then sadly leave to internal bleeding. It is spread between rabbits as well as by insect bites. RVHD is a very serious disease and will cause death within 3 days from being infected.
Symptoms of RVHD:
• Blood around the nose and mouth
• Reduced appetite
RVHD 2 was first found in the UK in 2013. It is common for owners to not know their rabbit is infected with this strain until they are sadly dead or collapse. Rabbits live longer with this strain so that increases the risk of infecting more rabbits. Death will happen within 2 weeks of being infected. Whilst symptoms are less likely to show with RVHD 2 until the passing of the rabbit in rare occasions similar symptoms may be shown as RVHD.
There is a vaccination that is available that protects against all 3 diseases. It is important to get this vaccination done as early as possible to reduce the risk of getting infected. You will have to keep up with these vaccinations yearly to keep the protection. If your rabbit lives with other rabbit/s you and is showing signs of ill health it is important to separate them and get vet help as soon as possible as well as removing items the sick rabbit has been in contact with to try to help reduce the spread. You should consider using insect deterrents such as regular flea treatments, bedding should be washed/changed regularly to help to reduce the amount of insects your rabbit comes in to contact with, as we know these diseases are also spread by some insects. If your rabbit is a indoor rabbit they should be vaccinated also. Like with humans most medicines have potential side affects and this is no different to pets. Your rabbit may get some mild symptoms which should pass within 2 days. These may include the following;
• Swellings or itching around where the injection was given
• Reduced appetite
If you notice these side affects for longer than suggested by your vet then seek professional advice.