Protect your pet rabbits against the new Calicivirus strain


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There are a number of strains of the Rabbit Calicivirus (RHDV) present in Australia. The original virus RHDV1 was released in Australia in 1995 to help control wild rabbit populations. The virus itself most commonly causes sudden death in rabbits without apparent clinical signs. In some cases infected rabbits may have a fever, are lethargic, off food and bleeding from the mouth or nose. A new strain of Calicivirus will be released around Australia in the first week of March. Now is the best time to ensure that your pet bunny is protected.

Vaccinations have always provided the best protection against RHDV1. At South Cranbourne Veterinary Surgery we offer the Calicivirus vaccine in rabbits. During a vaccination consultation you rabbit will receive a full health check along with dietary and housing advise. We have revised our vaccination protocol in light of the release of the new strain of Calcivirus and our recommendations are in line with the Australian Veterinary Association. All adult rabbits are now recommended to be vaccinated every 6 months (was previously every 12 months). Young rabbits need a course of vaccines depending on their age. If we have vaccinated your rabbit previously then you will have received a letter from us regarding these changes and your reminders have been adjusted to correlate with the new recommendations.

Other precautions that you can take to protect your rabbit include:

  • Preventing contact between domestic and wild rabbits
  • Avoiding feeding cut grass to pet rabbits if there has been any risk of contamination from wild rabbits
  • Good insect control, for example insect proofing the hutch or keeping the rabbits indoors. This not only helps minimise risk of Calicivirus spread but also helps to minimise the spread of Myxomatosis (another deadly rabbit virus which does not have a vaccine available in Australia).

If your rabbit has not been vaccinated or you are unsure please contact us at the clinic for more information on 5995 1451. 


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