New rabbit virus confirmed in Bedford
There have been reports of a new disease affecting rabbits in the UK. The disease is Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease variant 2 (RVHD-2) and it is fatal in approximately 25% of rabbits that catch it. Rabbits may die suddenly with no symptoms, or may appear non-specifically unwell (poor appetite, reluctant to move).
This month, a 4 month old rabbit recently purchased from a pet shop died unexpectedly at home. We carried out a post mortem examination and laboratory testing which confirmed that the rabbit had died from the new virus, RVHD-2. We believe that this is the first confirmed case of RVHD-2 in the Bedford area.
The standard rabbit vaccination does not protect against RVHD-2 (it protects against myxomatosis and RVHD-1). A separate RVHD-2 vaccine has recently been approved for use in the UK.
Pet owners should be aware that this new virus is present in the Bedford area. It is spread by direct and indirect contact between wild and pet rabbits. The virus can survive for long periods in the environment, and can be transferred on shoes, clothing, hay and bedding. Both indoor and outdoor rabbits are at risk.
We recommend that all rabbits are vaccinated with the standard myxomatosis and RVHD-1 vaccine every year, as before. They should also receive additional vaccination with the new RVHD-2 vaccine every 6 months. The two vaccinations cannot be given at the same time (a minimum gap of 2 weeks is required). If your rabbit has not had the new vaccine, please contact Reception and book your rabbit in.
As this is a new vaccine, it is not currently included on our Acorn Health Club plan. We intend to adapt the plan to include this vaccination in the future, but this will take time to organise. In the meantime, rabbits that are members of the Acorn Health Club will receive a 10% discount on the vaccine (Standard price: £39.54; Acorn Health Club price: £35.59).
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Acorn House Veterinary Surgery
Linnet Way, Brickhill, Bedford, MK41 7HN