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Myxomatosis and Viral Haemorrhagic Disease in rabbits

Milton Keynes Veterinary Group
Both these diseases are highly contagious within the rabbit population however are easily prevented.

Myxomatosis is a virus carried by biting insects and mosquitos and can be passed on without direct contact. The symptoms include puffy eyelids, conjunctivitis within the first 7 days and swelling will extend around the eyes, ears and genital regions after 7 days. In severe cases the rabbit may die from the virus.

Rabbit viral haemorrhagic disease (RVHD) is a highly infectious disease that can affect domestic and wild rabbits. RVHD 1, the classic RVHD, has been present in rabbits for decades and vaccinated against. A new strain of RVHD (RVHD2) was first noted in France in 2010. In the last couple of years, it has become an increasing concern regarding this new strain of RVHD in the UK with confirmed cases.

This new strain is less aggressive than RVHD 1 and symptoms may appear from 3 to 9 days post exposure. Symptoms can include high temperature, lethargy, sudden bleeding from areas (nose/mouth), reduced appetite and possible seizures. Even though this strain is less aggressive if not treated can cause death in severe cases

Myxomatosis and RVHD 1 can be prevented by vaccination and will provide the rabbit with 1 year immunity to the viruses.

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