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A new threat to our pet rabbits

A new threat to our pet rabbits
0 1 February 2017
The virus is called RHDV-2 and this stands for Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease Virus Type 2. It is new in Ireland, the first cases were confirmed here in Ennis and it has now been confirmed nationally. Unfortunately this virus has killed indoor rabbits who have had no outdoor access whatsoever as it is enormously contagious and will survive freezing and temperatures of up to 50 degrees celsius. It is so contagious that if a predator e.g. a fox or crow eats an infected dead wild rabbit, their faeces will become a source of the infection. It can also be spread by flying insects.Screen Shot 2017-02-01 at 22.07.33
Sadly there is no cure, however some rabbits will survive if given supportive treatment. Some rabbits exposed to the virus don’t get sick, but they can become carriers and spread the disease. Diagnosis of VHD is only possible through post mortem.
Unfortunately the normal vaccine that we use against Myxomatosis and RHDV-1 unfortunately offers no protection against RHDV-2.
A vaccine against RHVD-2 is available to protect pet rabbits from this disease. The RHVD-2 vaccine is only available in a ten-dose vial which we order in specifically twice a year and we contact all our rabbit clients to offer this.
The vaccine only treats RHVD-2 so you still need to get your rabbit vaccinated against RHVD-1 and Myxomatosis ( this is the “normal” rabbit vaccine that you get every year)
We recommend waiting 2 weeks between the two separate vaccines. RHVD-2 vaccine needs to be given twice, six months apart.
We also advise keeping unvaccinated rabbits indoors and avoiding any stress (including routine surgery such as neutering) until they are vaccinated.
We also advise against picking any grass or vegetation from outside to give to your rabbit until they have been vaccinated
If you’re worried that you may have been in contact with an infected rabbit, wash your clothes at > 50 degrees to kill the virus.
Any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact us on 065 67 97 444


Posted in Uncategorized by Ennis Veterinary Clinic

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