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Vaccination is used to protect animals from viral diseases.  It is not effective against bacteria or other disease causing organisms and is effective only against the individual viral disease that it is designed for.

The two main diseases that have vaccines available in the UK are Myxomatosis and VHD or Viral Haemorrhagic Disease (also known as Rabbit Calicivirus Disease RCD, Rabbit Calicivirus RC, or Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease RHD)

Both diseases have a high fatality rate and do not respond to antibiotics. They are spread by contact and vectors such as fleas, mosquitoes or other animals.

Rabbits should be vaccinated against both diseases although the vaccinations should be given 2 weeks apart.  Vaccination for Myxomatosis can be given from around 6 weeks and the VDH vaccine from 10 weeks.  Boosters are annual for VHD and either annual or every 6 months for myxomatosis depending on the risk of infection locally.

I have received phone calls from several people who’s rabbits have been vaccinated against myxomatosis and yet have still been infected.  Some quite severely with lesions to the nose and ears which have caused parts of the ears or nose to drop off.

Precautions should also be taken to keep fleas and mosquitoes away from the rabbit.


VHD Foreign Animal Diseases “The Gray Book”