In the run-up to Rabbit Awareness Week, our in-house vet Dr Suzanne Moyes explains that this year’s campaign is all about saving rabbits’ lives – and why there’s no time to waste...
Posted: 29 April 2019
If you have pet rabbits and you haven’t heard of RVHD2 then it’s essential you keep reading. Rabbit viral haemorrhagic disease type two – or RVHD2 for short – is an extremely nasty infectious disease that has few symptoms and is fatal. With outbreaks reported all over the UK and Ireland, it poses a significant threat to our rabbit population. That’s why it’s absolutely vital that all pet rabbit owners across the UK – whether they have outdoor rabbits or house bunnies – must act now to protect their pets and prevent the spread of the disease.
A big problem with RVHD2 is that it often has no symptoms. This means that it’s very hard to spot early on. Where symptoms do occur, they can be easily confused with other health conditions. They may include fever, lethargy, neurological signs, coma and blood clotting problems.
DID YOU KNOW?
It is a myth that RVHD2 can only be caught through contact with an infected rabbit. In fact, the virus can be carried by:
• Birds and insects and their droppings
• The wind
• Soles of shoes, car tyres or other pets’ feet
• An infected rabbit or their droppings
• Owners’ hands or clothes
This is just a snapshot of the many different ways RVHD2 can be carried and transmitted. In reality, there’s no way to stop the virus getting into your rabbits’ indoor or outdoor environment.
The only way to protect your pets is through vaccination. Your vet can vaccinate your rabbits against RVHD2 (this is a separate vaccination to the combined myxomatosis/RVHD1 vaccine). Your vet will then advise what booster vaccinations your rabbit will need (usually every 6-12 months).
DID YOU KNOW?
There is no specific treatment available for RVHD2, though your vet can offer supportive care. There have been some cases where rabbits have recovered from RVHD2. However, in most cases the disease is fatal. That’s why prevention through vaccination is absolutely vital.
Find out more about keeping your pet rabbits healthy with this really useful Rabbit Health Booklet, which you can download here >>
This year’s Rabbit Awareness Week takes place between 1-9 June 2019. This annual event engages rabbit rescues, vets, owners and bunny lovers across the UK help to raise awareness of rabbit welfare to give bunnies everywhere a better standard of living. Find out more at rabbitawarenessweek.co.uk.
If so, why not spread the word about Rabbit Awareness Week’s Protect & Prevent campaign. Share this information with your rabbit-loving friends so that their pets also get vaccinated against deadly diseases and follow the campaign on Facebook and Twitter.
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