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Rabbit Annual Health Checks and Vaccinations

Rabbit annual health checks and vaccination

The healthiest rabbits see their vet on a regular basis for their annual check over and vaccination.

This is an excellent opportunity to pick up on any changes in your rabbit’s health before they become a problem, and for you to ask us about any concerns you may have. As a prey species, rabbits do not show outward signs of disease until they are quite unwell, and prevention is always better than cure.

Your vet will conduct a full nose-to-tail examination, and will give discuss the individual recommendations for your pet based on their stage of life and unique needs.

Vaccination is then carried out against viral diseases which are fatal or difficult to treat if caught by unvaccinated rabbits. We follow vaccination protocols based on the most current national and international guidelines.

What do we vaccinate rabbits against?

  • Myxomatosis



Myxomatosis is typically spread by blood sucking insects (including rabbit fleas, mosquitos and mites) and by direct contact with infected rabbits. Wild and pet rabbits are potentiallyat risk of infection as the disease can be carried over significant distances by insects, which can then come into contact with indoor as well as outdoor rabbits, in the city as well as the countryside. The disease causes swellings of the head, face and ears, causing blindness and affecting their ability to eat and drink. The disease is usually fatal and so vaccination, along with flea control, good husbandry and stress reduction, is recommended. 


  • Viral Haemorrhagic Disease



Viral Haemorrhagic Disease (VHD), also known as rabbit haemorrhagic disease (RHD) is another very serious infectious disease. All rabbits are again at potential risk as it is spread by both direct and indirect contact with infected rabbits. Indirect transfer can occur via people and their clothing, through contaminated hutches and bedding, as well as via insects such as fleas and flies. The disease is widespread in wild rabbits in the UK. Signs of infection in rabbits include being depressed or collapsed, breathing difficulties, fits, fever and bleeding from the nose. Death can occur within 12-36 hours of a fever, and unfortunately, rabbits are usually found dead. There is no effective treatment. More recently, another new strain of RHD has emerged (RHD-2) and rabbits also need protection against this strain which is becoming the main type seen.


At Special Friends we advise vaccinating your rabbit at 5 weeks of age if you have bred them (or as soon as you acquire them if they are not already vaccinated) with a vaccine called Nobivac Myxo-RHD to protect against myxomatosis and the original variant RHD. A second vaccine at 10 weeks of age (or 2 weeks later if your rabbit is 8 weeks old or older at first vaccination) to protect against the new variant RHD (RHD-2) called Filavac VHD should then be given.



Did you know?

We have designed our Platinum Health Plan to help you spread the cost of vaccinations and preventative parasite treatments over the year, reducing the overall cost. For rabbits this includes the standard and new RHD-2 vaccine. It also gives you TWO full health checks a year, and 10% off all other services we provide! See the Practice Plan page for more details on the savings this could give you, or call into the practice to pick up a sign up form.