Recent news stories have highlighted the emergence of a new strain of rabbit haemorrhagic disease (RHD) known as RHD2 in the UK.
This virus can be spread on clothes, unwashed hands, by insects or other animals. Read on for further information about how you can best protect your rabbits.
Known as RHD2, this new strain of virus spreads in a similar way to RHD but symptoms tend to be less obvious and somewhat milder at first, making it more difficult to detect a problem quickly. General signs include a loss of appetite, subsequent weight loss and lethargy. Sadly, there is no cure for this disease.
However, a new vaccine has been developed to help to combat the virus. This vaccine can be used in rabbits from 10 weeks of age and should be given two weeks apart from the combined RHD-Myxomatosis vaccination which we would naturally do every year.
Those rabbits most at risk are those that travel to shows, are in rescue centres or multi-rabbit households. Indoor rabbits should also be vaccinated where possible as they can still be at risk due to the way the virus spreads.
In addition to the vaccine you can help protect your rabbits in the following ways:
- Clean and disinfect their house and run regularly
- Store food and hay in sealed bins or tubs protected from pests and damp
- Wash hands before handling rabbits, particularly if you have been in contact with other rabbits
- Prevent access to areas where wild rabbits may be present
- Fly and insect control around the hutch; this will also help protect against fly strike
- Quarantine a new rabbit for five to seven days before introducing to an existing rabbit
For more information please call your local branch or book a health check with one of our Vets or Nurses.