Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease (RHD)

RHD (also known as Viral Haemorrhagic Disease VHD) is a viral disease which is spread between rabbits by direct contact but also by indirect contact via people, clothing, on shoes, other objects and fleas.

All types of rabbit are potentially susceptible, including house rabbits.

The signs are usually

  • depression
  • collapse
  • difficulty in breathing
  • convulsions (fits)
  • bleeding from the nose 
  • sudden unexplained death

As with Myxomatosis there is no specific treatment for RHD so it is essential that you vaccinate your rabbit against it.

The vaccination against both Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease and Myxomatosis is given from 5 weeks of age with a yearly booster.

A second strain of RHD has also been discovered, called RHD2. Rabbits infected with the RHD2 virus typically DO NOT show the symptoms that are common with the original RHD virus so it is far more difficult to diagnose.

Fatality from RHD2 occurs later and over a longer period of time than RHD. Although RHD2 is less virulent than the original strain of RHD, its difficult early diagnosis actually means it is more challenging given rabbits can carry the disease for a longer period of time without any visible signs of infection.

You must still vaccinate your rabbit against Myxomatosis and Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease (RHD) as well.

This vaccine is not a replacement but in addition to your normal vaccination routine. At present as we are not in a high risk area for RHD2 we are recommending yearly vaccination against the new strain.

If you are concerned about how best to protect your rabbit or have experienced the sudden death of your rabbit and are concerned, please contact us and we will be able to help.