The Rabbit Welfare Fund (RWF) therefore, is increasingly
laying emphasis on vaccinating rabbits and protecting
them before these deadly diseases kill more numbers.
UK has reported numerous such rabbit deaths, with
Scotland, the north of England, Wales and the South
East having their pets fallen prey to Myxomatosis
Rabbits that are afflicted with myxomatosis go through
immense suffering with incessant nose and eye discharges,
chronic conjunctivitis and their genital parts swollen.
Their heads develop lumps and the poor creatures
are found stumbling around, turning down food with
reduced appetites and then ultimately dying of malnourishment.
Myxomatosis is generally fatal, and sadly prolongs
the agonizing death to even a fortnight. Generally,
pet rabbits in critical conditions are made to sleep
to ease their suffering.
Conversely, Viral Haemorrhagic Disease (VHD) slays
its victim within a few hours of its attack. Most
rabbits inflicted with VHD are found to behave normally
when death comes, while some bleed profusely or haemorhage
before giving in. VHD, however, causes an excruciating
death with painful symptoms like breathing problems,
high fever, appetite loss, nasal and anal bleeding
Rabbit owners can, however, take heart. Veterinary
Executive of RWF, Mr. Judith Brown assured that pets
could be timely protected against these ailments
through proper vaccination. He added that it was
most unfortunate and extremely sad when pet owners
oblivious to the very existence of such vaccines
were found losing their pets to these fatal diseases.
Therefore, pet rabbit owners must note that there
are vaccines available against both Myxomatosis as
well as VHD. For Myxomatosis, vaccines were to be
given to rabbits once they were six weeks old, with
the process being repeated every 12 months. However,
in places where the disease was widespread, the repeated
dose ought to be given every six months. VHD vaccines,
on the other hand, could be administered once the
rabbit was 10 weeks old, with a booster dose given
every 12 months.