Due to the appearance of a new variant of the viral hemorrhagic disease in Spain, we want to inform you about the current situation and the fact that there is already a specific vaccine to protect our rabbits.

That is why we want to recommend its administration, the annual vaccine protects your pet against Myxomatosis and classic viral hemorrhagic disease (RHD) but does not cover the new variant.

We do not intend to do an exhaustive article about the disease, we only want to provide you with basic information to help you understand why we advise putting this new vaccine.

Viral hemorrhagic disease (classic form)

The viral hemorrhagic disease or RHD (Red Hemorrhagic Disease) is a viral disease transmitted by a virus of the calicivirus genus that has been in existence since the 80s of the last century. It is a very resistant virus to the environment that mutates easily and there are several variants (some are pathological and others are not).

The contagion is produced by direct contact between affected animals through secretions: tear, saliva, urine, etc; but indirect transmission through food, water or contaminated objects (clothing, shoes, material that we use as substrate, tools, etc.) is also very important. Wild animals such as birds and rodents or domestic animals (dogs, cats) can also help spread the disease. Finally, it can also be transmitted through the bite of an insect such as fleas and mosquitoes.

As we have already mentioned, it is a virus that is very resistant to the environment, it can remain in the environment for up to 3 months.

Once the animal is infected, there is no treatment and it has a mortality rate of 90% of cases, affecting more wild rabbits than domestic ones. The virus only affects the European rabbit (all domestic animals are in this group), but it does not affect hares or people.

The most common symptom of this disease is sudden death without showing other signs. However, hemorrhages are sometimes observed in cavities such as the nasal, all at the postmortem level.

The definitive diagnosis can only be made once the animal is already dead.

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New variant hemorrhagic viral disease (RHDV2)

It was detected for the first time in France in 2010, also in the UK and in 2011 in Spain. Currently it has spread to many European countries.

It is a disease quite different from the classical form to the point of being considered a different virus, although the symptoms are very similar.

What is the difference from the classic RHD shape?

  • The vaccine against the classic strain (RHD) does not protect against the new variant (RHDV2).
  • In addition to affecting the domestic rabbit, it has been seen that it can also affect the hare but does not affect other animals or people.
  • The mortality rate is 20% and can reach 70% in young rabbits (compared to the classic form, which is 90%).
  • It affects young rabbits from 11 to 35 days old, compared to the classic variant that affects from 35 days of age.
  • The virus is also transmitted through rabbit poop.
  • The incubation period of the new variant is longer.

It is a disease that has no treatment, so PREVENTION, which consists of VACCINATION , is very important. A series of measures can also be adopted to reduce the risk of contagion:

  • Keep rabbits indoors if they are kept outside put mosquito nets.
  • Do not use the same shoes at home as outside.
  • Do not collect plants in areas where there may be wild rabbits.
  • A quarantine of at least 2 weeks is recommended for new rabbits coming home.
  • Domestic animals that may have contact with wild rabbits are advised to keep them separated from house rabbits.

The vaccine only protects against the new variant, so the new vaccination protocol in rabbits would be:

  1. Nobivac Mixo-RHD vaccine once a year.
  2. CUNIPRAVAC VARIANT vaccine 1 time a year.

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  • Against how many diseases should I vaccinate my rabbit?
    Vaccinate against 3 viruses: myxomatosis, classical variant hemorrhagic virus (RHD), new hemorrhagic virus virus.
  • Does the classic Nobivac Mixo-RHD1 vaccine protect against the new variant?
    No, this vaccine only protects against myxomatosis and classic variant hemorrhagic virus disease. For the new RHDV2 variant, a specific vaccine must be given.
  • Can my rabbit get it even if he does not leave the house?
    It is less likely but the virus can get through mosquitoes, shoes, other pets, food, etc.
  • What is the time of year with the highest risk of infection?
    All seasons of the year are at risk but perhaps winter is less likely. That is why we recommend giving the vaccine in spring.
  • What symptoms can tell me that my rabbit has the disease?
    Diagnosis is not easy, so if we suspect that our pet is not feeling well, it is always advisable to visit an exotic animal veterinarian.

At the clinic we recommend giving the vaccine in the month of April, so call us to make an appointment!

We hope this information has resolved any possible doubts and for any clarification do not hesitate to contact us at 972239003 or animalia@veterinariexoticsgirona.com

Animalia’s team of veterinarians

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