Understanding rabbit vaccinations

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Rabbits make adorable and affectionate pets, but their health needs are often underestimated.

Just like any other pet, they require suitable care and attention, including vaccinations to protect against deadly diseases like calicivirus, particularly prevalent in Australia.

Understanding the importance of vaccination, such as the recent introduction of the Filavac vaccine, is crucial for ensuring the well-being of these furry companions.

Calicivirus, specifically Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease Virus (RHDV), exists in various forms, with RHDV-1 and RHDV-2 being the most common in Australia. Both strains pose significant threats to unvaccinated rabbits, often leading to fatal outcomes. RHDV-1 causes rapid deterioration and death, while RHDV-2 can manifest as sudden death or present with non-specific clinical signs like lethargy and gastrointestinal issues.

One of the challenges in managing calicivirus is its high contagiousness. The virus spreads through infected rabbit excretions, including faeces, urine, and nasal secretions, as well as contaminated objects and insects.

This makes prevention through vaccination a crucial aspect of rabbit care.

Previously, vaccination options in Australia primarily targeted RHDV-1, with limited efficacy against RHDV-2. However, the introduction of Filavac has revolutionised rabbit healthcare by offering protection against both strains. This advanced vaccine provides a significant improvement in safeguarding rabbits, offering the best defence against calicivirus to date.

Administering the Filavac vaccine is a straightforward process, available for rabbits over 10-weeks-old. Annual boosters are necessary to maintain immunity, ensuring ongoing protection against calicivirus.

Vaccination appointments include comprehensive health and dental check-ups, allowing veterinarians to assess overall wellbeing and address any concerns.

Ensuring your rabbit’s vaccination status is up-to-date is vital for their long-term health and happiness. Whether you’re a new rabbit owner or a seasoned caregiver, staying informed about preventive measures like vaccination is key. If you have any questions or concerns regarding your rabbit’s vaccination schedule or overall health, reach out to the trusted team at Orchard Hills Veterinary Hospital on 4736 2027.

Kellie Tickner, Orchard Hills Veterinary Hospital

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