Myxomatosis is a deadly virus that rabbits can catch from being bitten by insects such as fleas and mosquitoes. Less commonly it can also be contracted from other infected rabbits. The clinical signs of myxomatosis are swelling and discharge from the eyes, nose and anogenital regions of infected rabbits. Unfortunately, there is no vaccine available to prevent myxomatosis, and the mortality rate is 96-100%. Given this poor survival rate, treatment is not usually possible.
As this is only the beginning of the mozzie season, we are urging rabbit owners to take precautionary measures to reduce the chance of your pet rabbits contracting this disease.
The best way to prevent myxomatosis is to prevent biting insects being around your pet rabbit. Use mosquito netting around the rabbit hutch (even if indoors), and avoid letting your bunny outdoors in the early morning and late afternoon when mosquitoes are more active. We recommend monthly treatments with a topical biting insect preventative Advantix, but please talk to your vet about the correct dosage regime. Although not 100% preventative, these are the best possible ways of ensuring your rabbit doesn’t contract myxomatosis.
Rabbit owners must also be aware of Calicivirus which is another deadly virus that Rabbits are susceptible to. Recently, a new strain has been identified in causing death in domestic rabbits so owners are reminded to continue to vaccinate their rabbits against calicivirus.