A second strain of rabbit VHD was identified in the UK 2 years ago and according to the British Rabbit Council, the number of cases of this RHDV2 strain is on the increase including in rabbits vaccinated with the original Myxo-RHD vaccine. It is difficult to know the true incidence as many cases of sudden death in rabbits go unreported.
We now recommend vaccination of all rabbits with both vaccines given 2 weeks apart. Vaccination is best in the Spring to give more protection through the Summer as these diseases are carried by biting insects.
Feed hay and grass: Good quality grass or hay should make up 70% of your rabbit’s diet. Most rabbits will eat their body size in hay each day. The rest (about one handful each day) should be vegetables, herbs and small amounts of fruit. Pellets should only be 1-2 tablespoons per day. Feeding the right diet helps prevent teeth problems, obesity, abscesses and gut problems.
Vaccinate your rabbit every year: You can protect your rabbit from the killer diseases viral haemorrhagic disease and myxomatosis by annual injection.
Prevent flystrike (maggots) – use Rearguard in the summer: Applying Rearguard to your rabbit will prevent flystrike and maggots for 10 weeks.
Worm with Fenbendazole: This helps to prevent encephalitozoon cuniculi (commonly called EC) another common and killer disease. We recommend giving a 28 day course to all rabbits.
Neuter your rabbit: Especially females who are very prone to uterine cancer. Neutering helps a lot of behavioural problems such as spraying in the house and aggression.
Pet health insurance: Hopefully if you follow this advice your pet will lead a long and healthy life. Modern rabbit medicine means that we have many sophisticated tests and treatments for rabbits which can become costly, but would be covered by Petplan rabbit insurance.
If you are planning on getting a rabbit, why not give a rescue rabbit a home?
Our local rabbit charity Fat Fluffs are always looking for homes for their vet-checked, vaccinated and neutered bunnies.