Update on RVHD2 rabbit virus in Bedford
In recent years, a new virus has affected 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).
After a period with a no new cases confirmed over the winter of 2017/208, we have had three rabbits die of the virus in the Oakley area in July 2018 so the virus clearly still remains a threat.
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. The RVHD2 vaccine that we are using as from August 2018 onwards needs to be repeated every 9 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.
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Acorn House Veterinary Surgery
Linnet Way, Brickhill, Bedford, MK41 7HN