There are two viral diseases that your pet rabbit should be vaccinated against.
This is transmitted by fleas, flies and other biting insects so can be passed from wild rabbits to pet rabbits – your rabbit does not need contact with another rabbit to become infected. The disease has even been seen in house rabbits that have never been outdoors. All pet rabbits are at risk. The first signs of infection are puffy, fluid filled swellings around the head and face. Within a day or so these can become so severe that they can cause blindness. Eating and drinking will become more difficult for your rabbit. There is no specific treatment for Myxomatosis and it is normally fatal. The Myxomatosis vaccination will protect your rabbit against this disease, although a vaccinated rabbit may still be able to get a mild form of the disease.
Viral Haemorrhagic Disease VHD
This is an incurable disease which is transmitted by direct contact with infected rabbits, but also indirect contact such as contaminated feed or water. Infection can also happen via contact with people, clothing, on shoes or by birds. Affected rabbits can be found dead or severely ill with internal bleeding in the lungs, gut and urinary tract. We can vaccinate your rabbit to prevent this disease. Speak to us about the vaccinations we use.
We aim to send reminders for boosters when they are due. At this appointment your rabbit will also receive a thorough clinical examination where any other health issues can be discussed with your vet.
Unless owners wish to breed from their rabbits, routine neutering is strongly advised. Rabbits become sexually mature quite young. Normally 4-6 months of age. We recommend separating young male and female rabbits at 4 months of age into single sex groups. Male rabbits can be castrated from 4 months of age. Females can also be spayed from 4 months of age but it is good if they are over 1 kg in body weight. There are lots of advantages to neutering rabbits when they are young which include: reduced risk of cancer in females and fewer behavioural problems in males (which may include fighting, biting and urine spraying).
Fly strike is a horrible condition that can occur in the warmer months. It is essential, particularly if your rabbit lives outdoors, that they are kept as clean as possible. You should check your rabbit twice daily during the summer months for signs of matted droppings, fly eggs or maggots around their bottom. Flies are attracted to faeces, urine and open wounds. Fly strike occurs when the fly eggs hatch into maggots which then feed on your pet rabbit and burrow into their skin. This is a very nasty and potentially fatal condition.
Taking the following steps to ensure that your rabbit is free from flies can prevent fly strike:
Clean out your rabbit hutch regularly, ensuring you remove all faeces and urine soiled bedding.
Put fly paper in or around the hutch.
Never leave old rotting food either in or near your pet’s living quarters.
Check the back end of your pet at least twice daily. If faecal matter accumulates in this area, remove it carefully and speak to us for advice.
Products can be prescribed to prevent fly eggs from hatching into maggots causing damage to your rabbit’s skin and tissue. Please note that these products don’t repel flies in the first place.
At the first signs of any maggots contact us immediately. Any delay in treatment can be fatal for your rabbit.