Most people know that you need to vaccinate cats and dogs, but we often don’t realise that rabbits also need vaccinations.

Vaccinations help to protect our pets against common diseases that could be life-threatening if they catch them, and rabbits are no exception. They often live outdoors, can get parasites, and might mix with other animals in your house, all of which put them at risk of catching different diseases.


What vaccinations do you usually give rabbits?


Rabbits are usually vaccinated for Myxomatosis, a disease which gives them red swollen eyes, amongst other symptoms. It kills many rabbits each year in the UK, and unvaccinated rabbits are unlikely to survive if they catch it.

The other disease that rabbits usually receive a vaccination for is Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease. Also known as Rabbit Viral Haemorrhagic Disease, RHD or RHD1. This virus is extremely contagious and sadly once a rabbit is infected it is almost always fatal. 


What is RHD2 in Rabbits?


In recent years a new strain of RHD has been found in the UK and is commonly referred to as RHD2. This isn’t quite the same as RHD1 and the vaccine for RHD1 has not been effective to protect rabbits against RHD2.

A new vaccine has been developed to prevent RHD2 in rabbits, and this can also be given as part of their routine vaccinations.


When should I vaccinate my rabbit?


Rabbits are usually vaccinated at about 5 weeks and receive the vaccination for RHD1 and Myxomatosis first. This will develop their immunity to these over the next three weeks. This is then repeated each year as a booster to maintain protection.

The vaccination for RHD2 will need to be given two weeks before or after the other vaccines and will also need to be given regularly. This is usually every 6 to 12 months depending on your rabbit, so it’s best to discuss this with your Best Friends Vet. 


Talk to your local Best Friends Branch about vaccination today.


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