Vaccination

Rabbits are at risk of several highly infectious and potentially fatal diseases. A vaccine is available against two of the main diseases - Myxomatosis and Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease. Previously, this had to be given as two separate injections 14 days apart, but we are now able to offer this protection in the form of a single injection.

Rabbits can be vaccinated from 5 weeks of age with a single injection under the skin. This will provide protection for 12 months, and it is therefore important that it is repeated annually. The vaccination can be given either by appointment or during an open surgery at any of our three branches.

Myxomatosis is a virus which is spread by blood-sucking insects such as fleas, gnats and mosquitoes. It is very common in wild rabbits. Affected rabbits develop a high fever, swelling around the eyelids and genitals, and will go off their food and water. The onset of the disease can be slow, and the rabbit may be ill for some time. There is no effective treatment against this disease and it invariably proves fatal to unvaccinated rabbits. For the past few years, late summer and autumn has seen a significant outbreak of myxomatosis and many unvaccinated pet rabbits succumbed to this terrible disease.

Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease (RHD) is a highly infectious virus which can be spread from rabbit to rabbit or on clothes or footwear, meaning that even house rabbits can be at risk. The virus attacks the liver and causes severe and fatal bleeding. Unlike myxomatosis, this disease has a sudden onset and infected rabbits will die very quickly.

Further information on the combined vaccine and its benefits is available from the vaccine manufacturer's website.

 


Ferrets are susceptible to disease, with canine distemper presenting a particular risk. As there is no vaccine licensed for ferrets we use a half dose of our normal dog vaccine, omitting one component. This use is off-licence, but as canine distemper is almost always fatal to ferrets we recommend owners of ferrets consider vaccination.