There are two different things we vaccinate rabbits against: myxomatoisis (myxi) and rabbit Viral Haemorrhagic Disorder (VHD). Both can be, and often are fatal in a very short space of time. There is no specific treatment and despite our best efforts there is usually nothing that we can do to save the affected rabbit.

They are also highly contagious diseases and can spread to and from the wild rabbit population which speeds up their spread both locally and nationally.  Both can be carried by biting insects such as mosquitoes and VHD can be carried on shoes, after walking in areas with wild rabbits.

Last year we began to receive reports in the UK about a new strain of VHD not previously seen in this country.  We quickly sourced a vaccine and now advice that all rabbits have 2 vaccines, 2 weeks apart to fully protect them against myxi and both strains of VHD - as there have been reported cases in this local area.

The first vaccine is a combination of myxi and VHD1 - this previously was sufficient, but now 2 weeks later we give a second vaccine and this covers the new strain of VHD - VHD2.This will ensure that your bunny is fully protected and vaccination lasts 12 months, so needs to be repeated every year.

Alongside your bunny's vaccination course they will get a full nose to tail health check!  We pay special attention to rabbit's teeth - as they continuously grow and can cause problems ranging from a lack of appetite and dribbling to grooming issues and dental abscesses.  During the examination we will also:

  • Listen to your bunny's chest to check their heart and lungs
  • Feel their tummies and listen to their intestines with our stethoscope to check they are working (they should make a gurgling sound!)
  • Weigh your bunny and body condition score them
  • Give you dietary recommendations to keep your bunny healthy

Rabbits hide illness and pain very well - in the wild they risk being eaten if a predator feels that they are injured or weak.  Therefore regular visits and health checks are vital so that issues can be treated before they become serious.

Dr Daisy Johnson BVetMed MRCVS