Myxomatosis

May 10, 2012

NEW RABBIT VACCINATION:

For some years now, vaccinations have been available for rabbits that protect against Myxomatosis and Viral Haemorrhagic Disease but now a new vaccine is available which simplifies the process of protecting against these fatal diseases.

Myxomatosis was infamously released into the wild rabbit population in the 1950’s in an attempt to control the numbers of wild rabbits. It is a highly contagious disease which triggers the formation of skin tumours with lumps and puffiness around the head and genitals. It then progresses to acute conjunctivitis and blindness and is almost invariably fatal. Myxomatosis can be passed to the domestic rabbit population by rabbit fleas, which are very prevalent in the wild population.

Viral Haemorrhagic Disease (VHD)was first recorded in China in 1984 and reached Europe by 1988. The virus can be passed by airborne spread so direct rabbit to rabbit contact is not required. Infected rabbits suffer from fever, convulsions and the condition can progress to death within 12 to 36 hours.

Until very recently, 2 separate vaccines had to be used to protect against each disease with a 2 week time lapse between each dose. The immunity only lasted for as little as 6 months in some cases, so repeat vaccination was required at regular intervals to maintain immunity. The frequent trips to the Vet that were required to achieve effective long lasting protection against these diseases meant that many rabbit owners chose not to immunise and took the risk of their pets getting these nasty diseases.

Now a new vaccine has been produced. It contains a live VHD virus where the disease causing component of the genetic material has been removed. In its place, a section of myxomatosis genetic material has been inserted which also does not cause disease. The presence of sections of genetic material from each virus stimulates immunity.

The vaccine has been many years in development. It is proven to be extremely safe and the single dose gives immunity against both diseases for a full 12 months making the protection of your pet rabbit much more practical.

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