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RHD2: Is your rabbit protected?

Keep your bunny happy and hopping!  
RHD2 is a new infectious disease that has recently arrived from Europe. 

    
The usual rabbit vaccination, the combined Myxomatosis and VHD, does not protect against this. We are now recommending and offering the new RHD2 vaccination to all clients at Companion Care Weston-super-Mare. 

If you would like more information, or to arrange an appointment, call us on 01934 418 004.

More information from your vet, Dr Robert White-Adams…

  • RHD2 (Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease 2) is a calicivirus infection that affects rabbits.  It causes various clinical signs including gut stasis, loss of appetite, jaundice and fits, but it is most commonly associated with severe internal and external bleeding and rapid death.
            
  • RHD2 has been present in Europe for several years, but it has only been seen in the UK in the last 2-3 years.  Several hundred cases have now been confirmed, covering most parts of the UK and affecting both wild and domestic rabbits.  It is spreading fast.  
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  • The RHD2 virus appears to be quite sturdy and stable; rabbits do not need direct contact with each other to pick up the infection, the virus may be transmitted between areas by humans, wild birds and small mammals, and on feedstuff or forage.   
      
  • For the last year, the rabbits considered at highest risk were those that frequently mixed with new rabbits, rabbits that lived in areas close to other wild or domestic rabbit populations, rabbits that stayed in kennels or holiday homes with other rabbits, and rabbits that were taken to shows.

  • However, the increasing prevalence of RHD2, and it’s recent encroaching into this area, means that we now believe RHD2 infection poses a significant threat to ALL rabbits under the care of this Practice.
       
  • Existing rabbit vaccinations, whilst still critically important, do not offer protection against this new disease threat.
      
  • We have therefore updated our Practice Guidelines to advise that all rabbits under our care should benefit from both the standard combined Myxomatosis/VHD vaccination, and the new RHD2 vaccination, both given once per year.

 

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