Unfortunately, the new strain is not covered by the existing vaccine which we give routinely to rabbits.
We now have limited stocks of a vaccine against this new strain, so if you’d like to have your rabbits vaccinated then please contact the surgery.
What is this “New Variant” of Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease?
Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease (RHD) sometimes called Viral Haemorrhagic Disease (VHD) is a highly infectious viral condition that is often fatal in both pet and wild rabbits.
The current vaccination that pet rabbits receive once a year (Nobivac RHD-Myxo) has been effective against this virus until recently.
Unfortunately, in the last year a new strain of the virus has been detected in the UK. This is called “New Variant” Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease (RHDV2) and the current vaccine does not protect against it. The condition is expected to become more common as it spreads throughout the wild rabbit population.
We are now able to offer a vaccination against this new virus. The manufacturer recommends a single injection of the vaccine from 10 weeks old then a booster vaccination every 6-12 months, depending on the risk.
Rabbits at low to moderate risk (eg pet rabbits with little or no exposure to wild rabbits) should be vaccinated every 12 months. Higher risk rabbits (rescue centres, show rabbits and pet rabbits with exposure to wild rabbits) should be vaccinated every 6 months.
It is recommended that there should be a minimum two week interval between the original Nobivac RHD-Myxo vaccine and this new vaccine. (Both are necessary to maintain protection against both strains of RHD and against Myxomatosis.)
The vaccine is not produced in this country and does not have a UK licence. However, it has been used in the EU and we are able to import it from France to deal with this new outbreak of disease. It has been very difficult to get stocks of this vaccine but we currently have a reasonable number of doses.
The Rabbit Welfare Association which has their own specialist vet has advised that pet rabbits should be vaccinated. The main reported side effect is a transient lump at the site of injection.
Please give us a call if you’d like to book your rabbit in to receive this protection or if you’d like to discuss the disease and the vaccination with a Vet.
Vet Helen Walton-Collett has recently completed an extra qualification in small animal ophthalmology
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