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Pocket Pets

Why vaccinating your rabbit is essential for its health

Protect your pet rabbit by vaccinating it against the Calicivirus. Many Australians don’t realise that vaccinating your rabbit is essential for its health – as it is for any pet. The Calicivirus causes viral hemorrhagic disease in rabbits and is a painful way for an animal to die.

  • Why domestic rabbits are at risk

The wild rabbit population in Australia is enormous and continually growing. To control wild rabbit numbers, the government regularly releases the Calicivirus into the environment.

An unvaccinated rabbit will die within 36 hours of exposure to the virus, which causes uncontrollable internal bleeding and severely affects the liver. Rabbits that die as a result of exposure to Calicivirus may have a bloody nasal or anal discharge, but many show no symptoms at all. Exposure to the virus is suspected when large numbers of wild rabbits die quickly in the same area.

  • How the Calicivirus is spread

You might wonder how a virus that is killing wild rabbits some distance away can affect your domesticated rabbit. The answer lies in the ease with which the Calicivirus spreads. Rabbits spread it among each other, but it’s also spread by anything these rabbits come into contact with, including soil, the air and bird droppings.

A bird that came into contact with soil walked on by infected rabbits 20km away from your home could stop off in your garden to rest and leave its droppings behind. These droppings will contain the virus. If your bunny comes into contact with these droppings, it could become infected and lose its life before you know there is a problem. There is no cure for the Calicivirus, which makes vaccination essential.

  • When to vaccinate your rabbit

The best time to vaccinate your rabbit is when it’s between 10 and 12 weeks of age. One month later, it will need a booster vaccination, and then your rabbit needs six monthly boosters.

It’s important to be aware that your rabbit may react to the Calicivirus injection, which may include fever and lethargy, or a sore at the injection site. These symptoms will pass quickly, but you can always call your vet to let them know if you are worried.

Always visit a vet you trust, such as the professionals at South Eastern Animal Hospital for any pet vaccinations. They have the skills and experience to deal with any eventualities and answer any questions you may have about vaccinations and the health of your rabbit. Book an appointment today.