Rabbit Vaccination, Worming & Flystrike

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Rabbit Vaccination

 

For your rabbit to be able to board at Crumpets they require 2 vaccinations which are 2 separate injections.

Vaccine 1: Nobivac RHD – Combined Myxomatosis and Viral Haemorrhagic Disease 1, given every 12 months.

Vaccine 2: Filovac RHD2 – Viral Haemorrhagic Disease Strain 2, this is not covered by the combined vaccine, given every 12 months. 

  

These vaccines cannot be administered at the same time and should be given 2 weeks apart, if your rabbit has not had either one of these vaccines in the last 13 months, these vaccines must be given at least 21 days prior to boarding.

Vaccination cards/ proof of vaccine status will be requested. Any rabbit that is not vaccinated will be turned away.

Why won't we board an unvaccinated rabbit?

We use veterinary disinfectants at Crumpets and Rabbits do not come into contact with one another, so we eradicate environmental contamination. Our hutches are treated with Acclaim to eradicate fleas for up to 12 months. We cannot however, just as you cannot, prevent wild life entering the garden and viruses being transmitted into Crumpets on the soles of our feet. Both viruses can affect all breeds of rabbit including house rabbits. We will not board unvaccinated rabbits as it will invalidate our insurance and a case of VHD could potentially take us out of business for 105 days for RHD, RHD2 for 205 days, we will not compromise on this policy.

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What is Myxomatosis?

Myxomatosis is a man made virus first introduced in France to control wild rabbits, it has now spread across the whole of the UK including London. 5-14 days after being infected the face becomes puffy and swollen. Within a day or so, these swellings become so severe that they cause blindness. Eating and drinking become progressively difficult and death usually follows within 12 days. This virus is spread by biting insects.

 

What is VHD/ RHD (rabbit viral haemorrhagic disease)?

VHD is a viral infection, first reported in 1992 and has now spread across the whole country. Clinical signs are damage to the liver and disruption to the normal blood clotting mechanism. Loss of appetite and bleeding from the nose, death may occur 48 hours after infection/ exposure to the virus. The virus persists for a long time in the environment and can survive for 105 days at room temperature. It can be spread by contact with clothing, footwear, tyres, contaminated food, contaminated bedding and other animals for example birds, insects and rodents.

 What is RHD2?

There is a variant of Rabbit Viral Haemorrhagic Disease in the UK that is not covered by the current Myxo-RHD Vaccine and rabbits require a separate vaccine to protect them from the new strain (RVHD2). Due the way this strain is spread, indoor rabbits are equally at risk as outdoorRVHD2 was first noted in France in 2010. Whilst RVHD2 has been present in the UK from 2014, more and more cases are appearing and there has been several confirmed cases across the UK including London, Essex and Herts. RVHD is a fatal disease which causes internal bleeding and results in sudden death, normally with no outward signs and tends to only be suspected when several rabbits die suddenly around the same time or if it is confirmed by postmortem. RVHD can be spread incredibly easily by biting insects and direct and indirect contact with infected rabbits, it can be transported on hay, food, birds, dogs, cats and yourself can spread the disease on your feet, clothes and shoes. It can survive in the environment for a very long time (205 days) even through cold temperatures.
 
If your rabbit is vaccinated against RVHD2 it must still be vaccinated with Myxo-RHD vaccine to protect against RHD1 and Myxomatosis as these are the most significant widespread threat to your rabbit and VHD2 only covers a particular strain of VHD. 
 

Why Vaccinate?

Both viruses have guarded prognosis. With intensive nursing over a long period a rabbit might survive Myxomatosis, but the rabbit will be left with severe scabbing and scarring on the head and body.  VHD has a  90% mortality rate.

 

When can I vaccinate?

  • VHD vaccine needs to be given once a year from 5 weeks of age.
  • Myxomatosis is present in North London and most vets are advising clients to vaccinate twice a year with the single Myxo vaccine or annually with the combined RHD vaccine, this can be given from 6 weeks of age.
  • The combined RHD vaccine which administers both Myxomatosis and VHD in a single injection is now becoming widely available at veterinary practices, this vaccine only has to be given every 12 months and saves on 2 trips to the vets as the current singular vaccines for VHD and Myxomatosis have to be given 2 weeks apart.

When giving the vaccination for the first time (primary) it takes 14 days for your rabbit to build up immunity after a singular myxomatosis or VHD vaccination or 21 days for the combined RHD vaccine and rabbits cannot board before this period, it then must be repeated annually (called a booster) to be kept up to date. If your rabbits vaccination status has lapsed by 1 month it will be classed as a primary vaccination and subject to the 21 day restriction.  

 

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Worming

All rabbits boarding should have a 9 day course of wormer prior to their stay.

We strongly advise that all rabbits boarding at Crumpets are wormed prior to boarding with Panacur Rabbit to minimise the spread of E.cuniculi. We disinfect our housing, equipment and runs with Trigene (Veterinary Disinfectant) but cannot disinfect the grass on which the spores of e.cuniculi can survive for 1 month. It is present in the environment and can be transported on your clothes, hands and shoes into your home or brought into your garden by local wildlife.

 

E.cuniculi is a parasite which is carried by rabbits, an infected rabbit may show no symptoms It is responsible for urinary incontinence, eye, kidney, liver and brain disease, head tilt/ vestibular problems and can lead to death. It is spread by the infected rabbit shedding spores in their urine and faeces which is then ingested by another rabbit. It takes 4 weeks before enough tissue damage is done for a rabbit to show symptoms, but may be present for years before the rabbit becomes ill.

 

We recommend treating with Panacur Rabbit which is a pleasant tasting paste, that is cheap, effective, easy to administer and could save your bunnies life.

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Routine dosing of rabbits is recommended 2-4 times a year and is an important aspect of your rabbits preventive health care. This simple but effective treatment protects your rabbit from this dangerous parasite. 

 Panacur rabbit is available from your vet, pet shop or via the internet, you do not need a prescription to obtain this treatment and it costs from as little as £3.50.

 

We do have the facilities to isolate any sick animal and can provide intensive nursing whilst in our care.

 

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Flystrike 

Flystike can affect any animal. Flies lay eggs in dirty bedding or fur, maggots then hatch and begin to feed on their host, this can happen within 24 hours. There are products available to reduce the chance of flystrike, but it is easily preventable by ensuring soiled bedding is removed daily and pets are checked at least twice a day to ensure that there is no matted, dirty fur around their bottoms that would attract flies.

At Crumpets we check for flystrike several times a day, the hutches are kept in immaculate condition and cleaned out daily. Uneaten veg is removed and dirty bottoms get a good clean.

If we believe that your pet may be at high risk from flystrike, we can provide/ apply Flyguard. This protects your pet from flystrike for up to 12 weeks. Payment for Flyguard application costs £5. 

We recommend all rabbit/ guinea pig owners to check their pet twice a day for flystrike during warmer weather, it doesn't have to be wall to wall sunshine for flystrike to appear so please be extra vigilant from May to October. 

I understand that this page may be depressing especially when booking your pets holiday. But being aware of vaccination, E.cuniculi and flystrike will help prevent your rabbit being affected in the future.

Thank you for taking the time to read this page.