- Charter Veterinary Hospital, Roundswell, Barnstaple
- Bridge House Surgery, Pilton, Barnstaple
- St. John's Surgery, Newport, Barnstaple
- Mullacott Veterinary Hospital, Ilfracombe
- South Street Surgery, Braunton
Is your Rabbit Protected against Myxomatosis?
Myxomatosis is a fatal viral disease, which will affect all rabbits, not just wild strains.
99% of infected rabbits will die of the disease and yet less than 10% of pet rabbits are protected with vaccination.
The disease is spread by blood sucking insects such as rabbit fleas and mosquitoes. The small amount of live virus placed into the skin when bitten gets into the rabbit’s blood stream and travels around the body.
It settles in the skin of the head and genitalia, where it multiplies. Early symptoms of the disease are shown between five and 14 days following infection; these include puffy swellings to the face, lips, eyelids, ears, genitals and anus. These swelling rapidly progress over a matter of days to cause blindness and the affected patient will stop eating and drinking, thick crusting discharges of the eyes and nose are noticed and a fatal secondary pneumonia will result.
Sadly 99% of affected rabbits die, and this is usually within 12 days of the onset of symptoms. A small number of patients do manage to survive the disease with intensive nursing care over months, but will be left with scars and scabs on the face and body.
Protection against myxomatosis is provided by vaccination and insect control.
Vaccination is the best chance of protection against myxomatosis. A single injection is given to rabbits over six weeks of age. It then takes 14 days for immunity to be reached, and this protection lasts for six months. Annual booster vaccinations are required in May or June to provide protection during the warmer summer months when the risk is highest. In areas where the disease is rife and the risk is very high vaccination can be given every six months.
Complete insect control is difficult to achieve but the environmental flea burden can be reduced by keeping wild rabbits away and by applying the spot on product ‘Advantage’ to your rabbit. Mosquito presence can be reduced with nets and insect repellent strips. Dry bedding will also discourage them.
IF YOUR RABBIT HAS NOT BEEN VACCINATED THIS YEAR PLEASE MAKE AN APPOINTMENT WITH A VETERINARY SURGEON AS SOON AS POSSIBLE SO THAT WE CAN PROVIDE PROTECTION AGAINST THIS DEBILITATING
AND FATAL DISEASE.
If you have any further questions about your rabbits health care please telephone us and speak to one of our veterinary surgeons or veterinary nurses who will be happy to advise you.
For further healthcare advice click here.