The new and deadly RHDV2 rabbit Calicivirus has finally been detected in SA in January 2016. The current calicivirus vaccination is not 100% protective for this strain, however is thought to be partially protective. The current recommendation form the Australian Veterinary Association is to vaccinate pet and breeding rabbits every 6 months, and kits at 4, 8 and 12 weeks of age. Immunity levels decline by roughly 50% 6 months after vaccination, prompting rabbit veterinarians to recommend 6 monthly calicivirus boosters for our pet rabbit population.
The virus is easily spread by direct contact between rabbits and anything contaminated with the virus (eg infected rabbit, hay, bedding, grass, unwashed hands, flies, birds, rodents etc). Flies are the main mode of transmission of the virus, however other flying insects also transmit the virus (rabbit fleas and mosquitoes). Therefore external parasite control is recommended by using either Advantage or Revolution. Advantage may be more effective for biting flies, although neither product claims effectiveness for flies.
Unfortunately once this illness is contracted, there is no cure. Luckily, regular vaccinations can minimize the risk to ensure your rabbit has the best start to life. Ensure you monitor your rabbit's eating and drinking habbits. If your rabbit seems more lethargic than usual, it is important to book an appointment with a veterinarian as soon as possible! A survival mechanism of rabbits is to not show signs of injury or illness until it is very severe.
In the face of this outbreak we will be changing our current vaccination recommendations to 6 monthly boosters for ALL bunnies, and an early vaccination course for kits (baby bunnies) of 4, 8 and 12 weeks, followed by 6 monthly boosters, until this strain is controlled, or until a new vaccine is developed.
Additionally, we will be recommending treatment against Coccidia for all juveniles
For further information on this disease please visit the following websites:
Have you heard? We are now holding Rabbit Vaccination Days at each clinic!
Rabbit vaccination vials come with 10 doses in each vial. This vial of vaccination is recommended to be used within 24 hours of opening.
The habit in the veterinary industry over the years is to use the vaccine as required over an extended period of time outside the manufacturers
recommendations. This is a practical solution for clinics however it increases the risk of vaccine reactions to your pet rabbit.
We strive to maintain high standards of care. As pet lovers ourselves, we understand how important your pet rabbit is to you. We have made the decision to host rabbit vaccination days across our surgeries each month.
Vaccination days will maximise the number of rabbits who will receive a freshly opened vial of vaccination following manufacturers recommendations and minimizing the risk of vaccine reaction.
We will still offer vaccinations to rabbits outside of our monthly vaccination day however the vaccine will not be fresh. We strongly recommend giving us a call to find out when our next rabbit vaccination day is at your nearest vet surgery. To ensure high vaccination safety for your rabbit, book in today!
All Surgeries are closed on public holidays.