New deadly disease in rabbits – but light on horizon with new vaccine coming to UK

New deadly disease in rabbits – but light on horizon with new vaccine coming to UK
May 31, 2016 kernow

On 14th May RHD became headline news on the BBC, where they reported the following. “˜Deadly RHD rabbit virus shuts UK competition showsâ’. The Royal Cornwall Show  this year was affected with no rabbits at the show.
Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease (RHD) is a highly infectious and fatal disease that affects both wild and domestic rabbits. It is caused by a type of virus – a calici virus – but there is more than one strain. Our team of veterinary surgeons treating pets at Harleigh Vets in Bodmin and Wadebridge, Churchend Veterinary Centre in St Austell and Pelyn Veterinary Group in St Austell and Lostwithiel have been vaccinating and protecting rabbits against the original strain – RHD-1. Using this very effective vaccine has brought this virus under control but, sadly, in late 2015 a new strain RHD – 2 has been positively confirmed in the UK.
This new form of the virus is not so easy to detect as the infected rabbits often do not show typical symptoms. Any age of rabbit can be affected and sadly, as it has a longer incubation period and a more prolonged illness than the RHD-1, it can be up to 8 days before the infected rabbit dies.
There have been outbreaks of RHD in Devon, Kent, Northumberland, Avon, Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Shropshire. And it can spread in wild rabbits so our worry here in St Austell, Lostwithiel, Bodmin and Wadebridge is that it could easily spread into Cornwall. It can also be spread on clothing and in air so the Royal Cornwall Show were right to cancel showing of rabbits in Wadebridge.
The vaccine for RHD-1 does not protect against RHD-2 but all rabbits still need to keep up their ongoing protection against RHD-1. Vaccine update –   we can now order vaccine for this deadly disease.  We have  already  contacted all our Rabbit Pet  Heath  Club members to let them know.  The supply is limited and is coming into the country in small batches.  We will have to offer a first come first served supply – so you need to get your orders in early.  To place an order then please ring the Harleigh surgery on 01208 72323.  They will be collating the orders and we can then distribute the vaccines out to all the surgeries as the orders come in.  And do not forget that all of the vaccines for Pet Health Club bunnies will be discounted for you.  Have a look on the information about our rabbit Pet Health Club at our veterinary surgeries on our website.