Unlike dogs and cats, rabbits are domestic animals that live mainly indoors. The chances of it meeting other animals are therefore relatively slim. It is therefore doubtful whether it is necessary to vaccinate him. However, vaccination is essential to protect your long-eared friend from serious and often fatal diseases. What are the two main vaccines that will guarantee your rabbit’s well-being? When should you vaccinate your little friend? Find all the answers to your questions in our guide.
What are the essential vaccines?
Rabbits can contract two particularly serious diseases: myxomatosis and viral hemorrhagic disease. They are caught from biting insects or from hay and grass collected outdoors. There is no known effective treatment for these diseases. Vaccination is the only available protection.
Due to a virus coming from the American continent, myxomatosis was introduced in Europe in the 19th century. Deadly for domestic and wild rabbits, it is transmitted by mosquitoes and fleas. It is very contagious and is transmitted from an infected animal to a healthy one. This disease manifests itself by the appearance of nodules all over the body as well as a swelling of the eyelids and the genital area. It can also take a respiratory form and degenerate into pneumonia. Death occurs very quickly.
Viral Hemorrhagic Disease
Also known as VHD or RHD, this disease only developed in France in 1988. Viral in origin, it is characterized by multiple bleeding, most often internal. Few clinical manifestations allow to detect this pathology, its main symptom remains unfortunately the sudden death of the rabbit. Some precursory signs can sometimes appear such as anorexic behavior, fever, breathing difficulties or nosebleeds. Whatever the case, death is inevitable. Contamination occurs between rabbits through feces or nasal secretions. The virus is very resistant and is able to survive in an outdoor environment for 4 months. Plants and fodder that have been in contact with sick animals are therefore particularly contaminating.
When to vaccinate your rabbit?
A healthy rabbit can be vaccinated as early as 5 to 6 weeks of age. However, it is not recommended to vaccinate pregnant rabbits and animals with weakened immunity, that have undergone surgery or are being treated with corticosteroids. It is also recommended to vaccinate against myxomatosis around February or March, outside of the warm periods when biting insects are active.
Only a veterinarian is authorized and qualified to perform the injections on your small animal. By recording the procedures performed in a health booklet, the veterinarian will be able to inform you, if necessary, of the necessary reminders to be given.
Generally speaking, in order to effectively protect your long-eared friend against these two diseases, two vaccinations per year are essential. During these annual visits, you can also ask your specialist to perform a complete health check-up.
Finally, the side effects of the myxomatosis and HDV vaccines are limited. They may result in a slight fever for a few days or a small, harmless swelling under the skin at the injection site.
Faced with two incurable and deadly diseases, prevention remains the best protection to ensure the health of your small rodent. Finally, in addition to being very effective, vaccination is risk-free for your pet.