Owners of domestic rabbits are urged to ensure their pets are fully vaccinated against the deadly Calicivirus before 28th February 2015. The Calicivirus baits are set to be laid in late March, weather permitting.
The warning comes as many councils across Sydney prepare to release the virus in a bid to tackle the ongoing feral rabbit population in the area.
The virus is highly contagious and spread by rabbit-to-rabbit contact and by biting insects, causing a rapid death for rabbits. “The best form of protection is a yearly vaccination,” said RSPCA NSW Chief Veterinarian Magdoline Awad. “Rabbits should also be housed in a mosquito-proof enclosure away from contact with wild rabbits,” Dr Awad said.
“The virus only affects rabbits and causes a disease known as Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease or RHD. The virus works by infecting a number of organs including the lungs, gut and liver of the rabbit. The liver infection causes acute hepatitis that can kill the rabbit within 48 hours,” Dr Award said.
There is a vaccine available from your vet to protect your pet rabbit from this virus. The vaccine is given once to rabbits over 12 weeks of age. For younger rabbits, the first vaccine requires a booster. All rabbits require yearly boosters. Contact us to get your rabbit vaccinated.
All RSPCA rabbits are vaccinated for calicivirus, desexed and microchipped prior to adoption.