Pet rabbits can get sick and no amount of proper diet, hygiene and housing can change this fact. Once pet rabbits are ridden with disease, it would be difficult for recovery to be achieved immediately. And when worse comes to worst, this disease can very well lead to the death of your pet rabbits.
More than providing cure, prevention is equally important to provide holistic care to your pet rabbits. Prevention of rabbit diseases can be attained through proper vaccinations. Usually, rabbit vaccines are given when pet rabbits are over 6 weeks old. Vaccinations are used to stimulate the rabbit’s body to produce antibodies that will protect the rabbit once the disease antigen enters the boy. However, having vaccinations doesn’t only protect your pet rabbit from diseases but also prevent them from being carrier of the disease themselves. Presently, there are two known vaccines that are given against two lethal rabbit disease.
Myxomatosis is a potentially lethal disease that is caused by the myxoma virus. This said disease was intentionally used to resolve the overpopulation of wild rabbits, which are considered as pests, in France and Australia. This virus is carried by blood sucking insects such as mosquitoes. Once the blood sucking infected insect bites a rabbit, the virus is left on the skin, wherein it takes almost a few days for the virus to pass from the skin going to the rabbit’s bloodstream. After two weeks from reaching the bloodstream, sign and symptoms such as inflamed eyes with discharges, swollen face, etc. can be seen. Infected rabbits can survive for months but in severe cases, rabbits can die within 2 weeks.
With this disease, vaccination is really necessary. Myxomatosis vaccine should not be given when your pet rabbit is pregnant or ill. At the same time, once the said vaccine is given, it requires yearly booster to enhance its total effect.
A more recent and dangerous rabbit disease is called Viral Hemorrhagic Disease. A factor to consider about this specific disease is that it can be transmitted through contact whether that of infected rabbit to healthy rabbit, contaminated human clothing to rabbits and contaminated rabbit beddings and things to healthy rabbits. The incubation period is said to be between 1 – 3 days. Signs and symptoms include fever, lethargy, convulsion and loss of appetite. Death of the rabbit can occur 12 to 36 hours after the onset of fever.
Vaccines to this disease is said to be very effective. Vaccination can be done 12 – 14 weeks of age. Also, no harm was noted when given to pregnant rabbits. Booster must be given annually after the initial dose.