Myxomatosis In Rabbits
Your rabbit should be protected against two major diseases called Myxomatosis and Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease (both strains). These can be potentially fatal.
Myxomatosis is a widespread disease caused by a virus. All types of rabbit are potentially susceptible, including house rabbits.
The disease is spread by blood- sucking insects such as the rabbit flea and mosquitoes. When an infected insect bites a rabbit, a small amount of the virus is placed in their skin as the insect feeds. Within a few days the virus passes into the rabbit’s blood spreading it to several sites. The virus mainly multiplies in the skin around the eyes, nose, face, skin inside their ears and around the anus and genitalia areas. It is best to try and prevent your rabbit from coming into contact with wild rabbits as they tend to carry a lot of fleas and can themselves be infected.
Generally the first sign of infection that you will notice are puffy eyes, lips and ears as well as swellings around their genitalia. Within 24 hours these swellings can become very severe, eating and drinking becomes more difficult and unfortunately death usually occurs within 2 weeks of infection. Some rabbits do survive the disease with intensive nursing but they are usually left with severe scarring and scabs over their body.
There is no specific treatment for Myxomatosis so it is vital that you ensure your rabbit is protected against it.
The most effective way to do this is by flea and insect control and vaccination.
Spot on treatments are available to protect your rabbit against fleas and nets over their hutches will help with mosquito control.
The vaccination against both Myxomatosis and Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease can be given from 5 weeks of age, with booster vaccinations given annually and it offers the best possible chance of immunity.