Why rabbit vaccinations are important

Last Updated on July 15, 2024 by Admin

Rabbits just like any other pets are susceptible and vulnerable to viral diseases with a high mortality rate such as Myxomatosis, Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease (RHD), and RHD2. Fortunately, annual vaccinations can help prevent infection of these life-threatening illnesses. This article looks into the importance of rabbit vaccinations, the viral illnesses in question, and when exactly to vaccinate your bunny.

Importance of rabbit vaccinations

Vaccinating your rabbit is essential since it helps them develop immunity against contagious deadly diseases. In other words, vaccination helps reduce the risk of infection by preventing the severity of the illness. As a result, it not only helps improve your rabbit’s health and quality of life, but taking the preventative route is also better and less costly than curing the actual disease.


Vaccination against rabbit viral diseases

As mentioned earlier rabbit vaccinations are usually against three viral diseases with no treatment, namely Myxomatosis, Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease (RHD), and Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease 2 RHD2. Below are the symptoms of each disease and the specific vaccines that prevent infection.

1. Myxomatosis

Myxomatosis is one of the viral diseases your rabbit needs a vaccine against. Transmission is through bites from fleas, mosquitos, direct contact with other infected bunnies, or contaminated objects. Symptoms of a rabbit that’s infected with the viral disease include swollen eyes, ears, and genital area. A rabbit may also develop fever, lethargy, and loss of appetite.

In other words, Myxomatosis has no cure and often kills rabbits 14 days after infection. The vaccine for this severe illness is Myxo RHD PLUS which is not only used for preventing Myxomatosis but also RHD and RHD 2. Finally, it’s worth pointing out that although vaccination doesn’t prevent transmission, it makes the disease milder with a high recovery rate.


2. Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease (RHD)

Another deadly viral disease a bunny needs a vaccine against is Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease. The calicivirus of the Lagovirus genus is responsible for spreading RHD which is usually through direct contact with infected rabbits, transmission by insect bites, contaminated objects, or environments. For the last two, it’s worth pointing out that the virus can remain alive several months after contamination. As a result, it makes transmission possible both through direct and indirect contact.

Some of the symptoms include fever, lethargy, loss of appetite, seizures, and breathing difficulty. Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease also causes internal bleeding which causes a rabbit to ooze blood from the nose or mouth. In severe cases, the disease also leads to rabbits dying within 48 hours after infection. Besides the Myxo RHD PLUS, another vaccine for Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease is the Filavac VHDKC+V vaccine as well as the Cylap RCD vaccine.


3. Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease 2 (RHD2)

The second strain and more recent of Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease also known as RHD2 is another viral disease that a rabbit needs a vaccine against. RHD2 has a slower fatality rate which takes one or two weeks, unlike RHD which has a two-day timeframe under severe cases. RHD2 is common in the UK and its symptoms and transmission are similar to RHD. Lastly, the vaccine for Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease 2 is Filavac – VHD2 or RHD PLUS.


When to schedule for a Myxomatosis, RHD, and RHD 2 vaccination

A rabbit vaccination typically depends on the rabbit’s age, health status, and location. However, the general rule of thumb is that rabbits that all rabbits that are at least 6 weeks old can be vaccinated against Myxomatosis, RHD, and RHD 2. To be specific, if you’re going to use the RHD PLUS vaccine which is a three-in-one vaccine for all three viral diseases, the immunity takes around 21 days to develop. Alternatively, if you’re going to use the Filavac VHDKC+V or Cylap RCD vaccine for RHD, wait for at least two weeks before going for the Filavac – VHD2 vaccine for RHD 2.



Although vaccination doesn’t guarantee total immunity, it significantly reduces the risk of infection and the severity of the viral disease. Before rabbit vaccination, always ensure that your veterinarian is specialized in rabbit care. This will enable your bunny to receive the best vaccination plan based on their health, and the environment where they’re susceptible to viral diseases.

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