We are aware of a confirmed, fatal case of RHD2 virus infection in a rabbit in our area. It’s also been reported anecdotally that some wild rabbit populations have suddenly disappeared, raising suspicions of a disease outbreak.
There are two strains of the RHD virus, which is also known as VHD virus (The abbreviations stand for ‘Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease’ and ‘Viral Haemorrhagic Disease of rabbits’). Both strains are spread by direct contact, biting flies or fleas, or through contaminated food or bedding. Infection results in sudden death or acute illness with internal bleeding. The survival rate is very low and there is no effective treatment.
The best way to protect your rabbit is through vaccination. Most pet rabbits are routinely vaccinated for RHD1 and myxomatosis. However, this does not protect against the new RHD2 strain.
We have now been able to source RHD2 vaccine in single dose vials and we recommend that all pet rabbits are given this.
- This advice applies to all rabbits, including those which have previously been vaccinated against the RHD1 strain.
- Rabbits which have already been vaccinated for RHD2 should have their vaccination certificates checked to see if they need an update. Revaccination at 6 month intervals is recommended in the face of a disease outbreak.
- If your rabbit has never been vaccinated at all, it’s now even more important to get this done.
Please call your nearest branch to order vaccine and arrange an appointment for your rabbit.