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A beautiful, yellow-eyed cat receiving treatment. Doug Hall feeding a well-loved client.

Rabbit RHD2 - New Disease Alert

4th November 2016

We would like to inform you about the emergence of a new strain of VHD/RHD  called RHD2 (viral haemorrhagic disease/rabbit haemorrhagic disease) in the UK. Unfortunately, there have been two confirmed fatalities in our area due infection with the RHD2 virus.

RHD and Myxomatosis are diseases found throughout the UK and both area highly fatal to un-vaccinated rabbits. Both outdoor AND indoor rabbits are at risk. RHD in particular is highly infectious and contagious. It can be spread by direct and indirect contact with infected rabbits and by biting insects, example:- if you or your dog or cat has walked on ground where a RHD infected rabbit has been, you can carry the virus home on your clothes and your pets can carry it on their fur or feet. Faeces from an animal or bird that has eaten a dead  rabbit can also spread the virus. The virus can survive for many months, is difficult to kill and can survive harsh environmental conditions.

Currently there is a vaccine in the UK that provides protection against Myxomatosis and RHD called Nobivac Myxo-RHD. However, there is now a new strain of RHD in the UK known as RHD2, for which the current vaccination does not provide protection. The disease can produce a wide range of clinical signs from simple gut stasis, loss of appetite, jaundice, fits, bleeding internally or externally to rapid death.

Thankfully, we now have a vaccine, Filavac, available that protects against RHD2, that has been specifically imported from France. This vaccine does not provide protection against myxomatosis, so the normal Nobivac Myxo-RHD vaccine will still need to be given. It is recommended that an interval of 14 days should be left between giving the normal annual vaccination and this new vaccine.

In total, your rabbit will now require 2 vaccinations (comprising of 2 injections) each year:-

  1. Nobivac Myxo-RHD vaccine – one injection that covers them for myxomatosis and RHD1 for 12 months

  2. Filavac RHD2 – this covers them against the new RHD2 for at least 6 months.

These vaccinations cannot be given at the same time. There needs to be a gap of at least 2 weeks between the two vaccinations.

Please contact the surgery on 01483-538990, to make an appointment, or if you have any further queries re RHD2.