Myxomatosis is a deadly viral infection that can affect both wild and pet rabbits. Once infected rabbits develop severe conjunctivitis followed by swellings around the head and genital regions. As the disease progresses the rabbit will become increasingly weak. In the majority of cases the rabbit will unfortunately pass away despite treatment.
Why should I be worried about Myxomatosis?
Myxomatosis is highly contagious. The main route of infection is via insect bites such as from fleas and mosquitoes that have previously bitten an infected rabbit. Direct contact with an infected rabbit can also spread the disease. Rabbits living outside, especially if wild rabbits enter the garden, are particularly at risk however all unvaccinated rabbits are at risk of contracting the disease.
What can I do to protect my rabbit from Myxomatosis?
Vaccination is an important factor in protecting your rabbit against Myxomatosis. Rabbits can be vaccinated from six weeks of age and require a yearly booster vaccination to maintain continued protection. Like all vaccinations complete protection cannot be guaranteed and vaccinated rabbits can still catch myxomatosis however the symptoms are generally much milder in the vaccinated patient and carry a significantly better prognosis.
Other important preventative methods include fitting insect screens to outdoor hutches and runs, treating all other household pets (cats and dogs) with a proven flea protection product, and where possible protecting your garden from visiting wild rabbits.
The vaccination used for Myxomatosis also includes protection against Viral Haemorrhagic Disease (VHD) – another silent and serious threat that our rabbits may face.
Remember, our Rabbit Pet Healthcare Plan
From just £4.99 per month the Pet Healthcare Plan includes yearly booster vaccination, two consultations, annual blowfly treatment and many other benefits. Speak to one of the team for more information. Alternatively individual rabbit vaccinations cost £24.99 at The Vet.