Posted 5th Jun 2018 by Peter Byrne
Domestic rabbits face the threat of myxomatosis every year, yet it's something that rabbit owners are generally ignorant about, along with what can be done to protect their beloved pets
What is Myxomatosis?
A severe viral disease, myxomatosis can affect both indoor and outdoor rabbits, often with horrible consequences. The condition is contracted through flies and mites, along with fleas and mosquitoes that have previously bitten an infected rabbit. It can also be contracted from having direct contact with other rabbits that are also infected.
What are the symptoms of Myxomatosis once contracted?
The disease is usually terminal - symptoms include a high fever, puffy swelling over the head and face, and thickened skin around the ears, mouth, ears and the perineum.
There will be discharge from the eyes and nose that cause breathing difficulties, and will then relate to secondary bacterial respiratory infections, while eating and drinking will become more difficult within days of the signs being noticed.
Can Myxomatosis be treated?
Very few domestic rabbits will survive myxomatosis, and those that do will suffer a drawn-out illness, which means protecting them is important. Rabbits will often die within 10-14 days of catching the infection - in some aggressive cases, the virus can cause death even before signs of the infection appear. Sadly, many rabbits have to be euthanized.
How can you ensure your rabbit is protected against serious infectious diseases like myxomatosis?
Myxomatosis will be fatal in most cases, meaning the best cause of action will be to ensure your pet is protected against the life-threatening virus - this can be done through preventative measures.
There is a vaccine available, with a single inoculation offering immunity to both myxomatosis and another dangerous viral disease, Rabbit Haemorrhagic disease (RHD-1) - an annual booster will be needed. Separate vaccination could also be recommended against a second strain of the infection (RHD-2).
Seek help from your local vet when it comes to vaccinations and boosters that your rabbit needs to maintain protected and enjoy a healthy, happy life.
Information courtesy of www.msd-animal-health.co.uk