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Myxomatosis – Killer virus set to spread

Myxomatosis is a virus that was originally found in lab Rabbits in Uruguay in 1896, and was then utilised to assist in the control of the rabbit population of Australia, which took it from 600million to 100 million in a short time.

The virus is now very wide spread through the wild rabbit population in the UK. In the 1950’s there was a large outbreak in the UK introduced just like in Australia, and again devastated the wild rabbit population, although since recovery has been appreciated.

The virus can be spread by means of Rabbit to Rabbit contact or by a vector ( through fleas, mosquitos and fly’s), so has now become a issue in pet rabbits.

With the weather being as it has, Spring rain’s and summer heat, it has given rise to higher flea and fly population, as well as ideal rabbit breeding, all leading to an inevitable spread of the disease far and wide.

Myxomatosis is a 100% killer. Rabbits can have various sign’s, Oedema (swelling) of the eyes and mouth, breathing issues and skin lesions. Suffering of these rabbits is high; the incubation period of the virus is about 14 days. In the initial stages all seems fine but suffering starts with the inability to eat, gut system shuts down, eyes are unable to open due to swelling and puss at this stage. It is a painful and debilitating condition that can be prevented.

There is a way to help your pet rabbit, vaccination against the virus. At Abbey house we do encourage vaccinations of our pet rabbits as they are like any other animal, they are part of the family and protecting them from whatever you can is basic care.

Vaccinations can be performed at the Hospital in Morley or at any of the branches, they cover not only Myxomatosis but also RVHD1 (Rabbit Viral Haemorrhagic Disease) and the newer strain RVHD2. Vaccinations are given 2 week apart.

Also you could help by protecting your rabbits against Flea’s and fly’s. Basic hutch care, use of an anti-parasitic, such as Advocate, will also help.

For any further information or to make an appointment please contact one of our clinics. We are always happy to advise.

Myxomatosis Rabbit

Rabbit Myxomatosis Symptoms