On this page you can find links and information regarding rabbit vaccinations and why we ask for them.
Myxomatosis is a severe viral disease of rabbits that decimated the wild rabbit population when it arrived in Britain 50 years ago.
Domestic rabbits are also susceptible to the disease and deaths in pets are reported every year.
How can pets catch Myxomatosis?
The main route of infection is through fleas and mosquitoes that have previously bitten an infected rabbit. It is also suspected that midges and mites may pass on the disease. Direct contact with infected rabbits can also spread the disease, particularly secretions from their breathing and direct contact. All pet rabbits – indoors or outdoors – are at risk. Rabbits living outside (especially if wild rabbits enter the garden) are at especially high risk.
How can I protect my rabbits from Myxomatosis?
Vaccinations are the most important of a package of measures you should take to protect your rabbits.
Rabbits can be vaccinated from 7 weeks of age. Boosters are needed every year.
RHD 1 & 2 (Also known as VHD or RVHD or Rabbit Viral Haemorrhagic Disease)
There are two strains of RHD, known as RHD1 and RHD2. Both strains are lethal and you must vaccinate to protect your rabbits. RHD2 has been in the UK since 2013 and in time is expected to overtake classic RHD as the primary strain. Vaccination is very effective.
Your rabbits can currently be protected by injection anytime from 7 weeks of age, then a booster every 12 months.
How can pet rabbits catch RVHD?
Both strains of RVHD are spread by direct contact with infected rabbits, or indirectly via their urine or faeces. The viruses can survive for months in the environment, and are terrifyingly easy to bring home to your pets. They survive cold very well.
Hay may have been in contact with infected wild rabbits as grass growing in the field.
Birds or insects may transport the virus on their feet (or in their droppings) to your rabbit grazing on the lawn.
The virus may be blown on the wind.
You might bring the virus home on your feet, or your other pets’ feet (or car wheels) from infected wild rabbit droppings.
You could bring the virus home on your hands or clothes.
Both strains of RVHD have been recorded all over the UK. All pet rabbits should be vaccinated against both strains. There is no way of predicting where the next outbreak will strike, and no practical way of shielding your pet rabbits from all the possible sources of infection. Vaccination is the only way to be safe.
NEW TRIPLE VACCINE - Myxomatosis VHD1 & VHD2 - Nobivac Myxo RHD PLUS Vaccine
In 2020 a new triple vaccine was launched that covers all three diseases. There are strict switching criteria that vets must adhere to when switching rabbits over to the new vaccine.
Naïve rabbits (rabbits who have 100% never been vaccinated before)
Vaccinate with Nobivac Myxo-RHD PLUS from 5 weeks of age (7 weeks for a full 12-month duration of immunity).
All rabbits previously vaccinated within the last 12 months with either Filavac or Eravac.
*in addition to or without previous vaccination with Nobivac Myxo-RHD
Boost with Nobivac Myxo-RHD PLUS when next vaccine booster falls due, then boost annually.
Rabbits previously vaccinated only with Nobivac Myxo-RHD (including those that have lapsed (>12 months) with a vaccination for RHD2).
Vaccinate with an inactivated RHD-2 vaccine (i.e. Eravac (Hipra) or Filavac (CEVA)) as soon as possible.
Consider the optional use of Nobivac Myxo-RHD this year (while stocks are available) if the myxomatosis booster is also due at around the same time as the RHD-2 vaccination.
For boosters due later this year and all subsequent boosters, use Nobivac Myxo-RHD PLUS.
In regards to rabbits who have an unknown previous vaccine history, we would require vets to follow the group 3 vaccination protocol as we cannot rule out vector interference if they have only previously been vaccinated with the Nobivac Myxo-RHD. (As per advice from MSD)
The RHD2 vaccine needs to be current (i.e. within the last 12 months) otherwise we will request that this individual is treated as a group 3 rabbit and vaccinate again with an inactivated product. (As per advice from MSD)
Information about switching can be found HERE
As a business if we were to allow un-vaccinated rabbits to board we would be putting all our customers and own rabbits at risk. In all cases RVHD is fatal. Please ensure your vaccinations have not lapsed. Allow 5** weeks for a full course of vaccinations. If we have to refuse boarding because you have neglected to vaccinate your rabbits we will still charge up to 100% of the boarding fee due to cover our loss of income.
More information and links can be found below -
**Why 5 weeks? If a rabbit requires 2 sets of vaccinations the Filavac should be given 2 weeks before the Nobivac Myxo RHD Plus, then the Myxo RHD Plus takes 3 weeks for the full immunity required before boarding.