Rabbits need vaccinations too!
Rabbits are delightful and wonderful pets and we love them lots and lots. However, there is a feral population of rabbits in Australia, causing extensive environmental damage. This feral population is managed with a number of biological control methods and Calicivirus is one of these. But your pet bunny is vulnerable to infection too. Vaccination is their only protection.
Is your pet rabbit up to date with their vaccinations? If not, get them vaccinated ASAP!
Vaccination has previously been a yearly event but with recent changes to the viruses out there, vaccination protocols have been undated. There are a number of Calicivirus strains present in Australia; RHDV 1 - the original virus, RHDV1 - K5 Variant (release planned in March 2017) and RHDV 2 - first recorded in mid 2015 in Australia.
We know this is all a bit confusing at the best of times!
The important message for rabbit owners is that there are two strains of Calicivirus that were planned introductions and the current vaccine provides full protection. This is RHDV1 and the K5 variant. There is another strain of the virus, RHDV2, that was not a planned introduction and the current vaccine offers only partial protection. There is a RHDV2 vaccine under development but while we wait for this the recommendation is off-label use of the current vaccine every 6 months. This appears to offer some protection against RHDV2.
We recommend all rabbits be vaccinated, including house rabbits. Calicivirus is very contagious and can be transmitted via direct contact, insects, but also via clothing or food stuffs bought into the house. The Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) has some sensible recommendations to further reduce the risk of infection that all rabbit owners would best be aware of.
Calicivirus is very infectious and inevitably fatal in rabbits. Vaccination is your pets only protection. If in doubt, call us to discuss how best to look after your bunny and make sure they are up to date with their vaccinations.