Be vigilant and get your bunny protected as councils release calicivirus into the local area this April.
Rabbit calicivirus disease is a highly infectious, fatal disease that affects wild and pet rabbits. Caliciviris will often break out in springtime and vaccination against this fatal disease is imperative.
The virus is spread by direct contact with infected rabbit or infected objects. The virus may also be carried by the wind or by flies, fleas, and mosquitoes. The virus can hang around in infected areas for up to 200 days! It is regularly released by local councils to control wild rabbit populations and we have had confirmation that the Wyong council is releasing the virus in our neighbourhoods in late April
The Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease Virus, also known as Calicivirus mostly infects adult rabbits. Young rabbits less than 8 weeks of age can be temporarily resistant to the virus. The incubation period for the Calicivirus virus is between 1 to 3 days, with death following 1 to 2 days after the infection.
Most rabbits will show no signs and simply die suddenly. There is no treatment for Calicivirus infection.
Some wild rabbits will survive infection and thus the population of feral rabbits continues to be problem in the Australian bush. Unfortunately, our pet rabbits are very susceptible to the disease and are very unlikely to survive infection. The death rate in pet rabbits is almost 100%.
So what can we do to protect our beloved pet bunnies?
Fortunately there is a vaccine available. Rabbits less than 12 weeks are given one injection followed by a booster one month later. Rabbits over 12 weeks of age are given a single dose of vaccine. Vaccination must then be continued every 12 months for life. The vaccine offers very good immunity and is essential for protection of all pet rabbits. Reducing contact with wild rabbits and controlling mosquitoes and fleas in your rabbit’s environment is also very important. Revolution top spot can be used monthly to control fleas.
By following these simple guidelines and making sure your rabbit is vaccinated every 12 months you can ensure good protection against this otherwise fatal disease. If your rabbit is not up to date with vaccination, or you are not sure, please call and schedule an appointment. When it comes to Calicivirus infections – there is no cure, only prevention and it is very VERY important to stay up to date!