Why is it important?Vaccination is a vital component in keeping your rabbit safe, happy and healthy. The three major infectious diseases of rabbits are both nasty, and both are killers. Vaccination gives excellent protection and is generally very safe.Vaccination is a vital component in keeping your rabbit safe, happy and healthy. The two major infectious diseases of rabbits are both nasty, and both are killers. Vaccination gives excellent protection and is very, very safe.
How do vaccines work?A vaccine is essentially a drug that teaches the immune system how to fight an infection. Without it, the rabbit has to actually contract the disease before they can learn how to fight it - and for most, that's too late. A vaccine contains a weakened form of the disease (either dead, weakened through the way it's processed, or genetically modified not to cause disease) that the immune system can recognise, but that is very, very unlikely to cause the full-blown and fatal disease.
How long do vaccines last?However, the protection that a vaccine gives doesn't last indefinitely - after a while, the "memory" (carried by T-memory cells) declines, so a booster is needed to "top up" their cover. In most cases, this is required annually.
What effect do vaccines have?While a vaccinated rabbit may occasionally contract disease (especially with Myxomatosis), the disease will be less severe, and treatment will have a chance of saving them, unlike the situation in a vaccinated bunny.
(1) MyxomatosisThis virus attacks the skin and the mucous membranes causing swelling and disharge of the eyes, mouth, nose, anus and genitals. It is almost invariably fatal in unvaccinated rabbits, which often take several weeks to die. All rabbits in the UK are potentially at risk of myxomatosis.
(2) Rabbit Viral Heamorrhagic DiseaseThis virus breaks down the blood vessels, so affected bunnies rapidly bleed to death. There is no effective treatment and death is almost completely certain once symptoms appear. There is a vaccine for VHD Type 1 in the UK; the Type 2 virus vaccine is also available now although it can sometimes be hard to get hold of.
A vaccinated rabbit is safer and in most cases healthier than an unvaccinated one. on rare occasions vaccination may not be recommended by your vet, particularly in cases of some underlying/chronic diseases. This will be advised by your vet after an examination of your pet and we always recommend that you discuss your options with your veterinary team who will be able to advise you best on how to protect your rabbit. In most rabbits vaccination is the very best way to help protect them against infectious diseases (myxomatosis, RVHD 1 and RVHD 2).
So make sure you get your bunnies jabbed if they can be - give your vet a ring to make an appointment and get them protected - you'll also be helping to protect any bunnies who can't safely be vaccinated..A vaccinated rabbit is safer and healthier than an unvaccinated one - full stop! So make sure you get your bunnies jabbed - give your vet a ring to make an appointment and them protected.