Myxomatosis is a painful and fatal disease that affects rabbits worldwide. There’s currently no cure or vaccine against the disease, but there are some preventative steps you can take to keep your rabbit healthy.
What is Myxomatosis?
The Myxoma virus was introduced into Australia in the 1950s to control the overwhelming population growth of wild rabbits and hares.
Any rabbit can catch the Myxoma virus from an infected rabbit, or from mosquitoes or fleas who have fed on infected rabbits. For this reason, we see Myxomatosis most commonly during the warmer, wetter months, especially around Easter.
If your bunny does catch the virus, unfortunately, the best option for your pet is humane euthanasia to save them from the pain of disease.
Thankfully, resistance has grown in wild rabbit populations overseas where the disease has been around for a long time, so we hope to see the same happen in Australia in the future. For now, you can keep your bunny safe by taking preventative measures, understanding the warning signs, and coming to see us as soon as you notice that something’s wrong.
Warning signs that your rabbit has Myxomatosis
It can take anywhere from three to 21 days for signs of rabbit Myxomatosis to appear. The symptoms are usually mild before escalating over three to five days.
If your rabbit displays any of the following symptoms, come and see us straight away.
- Reddened eyelids and eyes
- Discharge from the nose and eyes
- Swollen eyelids, nose, lips, ears, face, or genital region
- Skin lumps or nodules
- Drooping ears
- Purple spots on the skin
- Reduced appetite
- Weight loss
- Trouble breathing
Protecting your rabbit from Myxomatosis
Prevention is the only way to protect your pet from Myxomatosis.
Give your pet monthly flea prevention medication. We recommend the Revolution brand and can help you choose the right size for your bunny.
Mosquito proofing their hutch
The best way to keep your rabbit away from mosquitoes is to keep them indoors during warm and wet months. Mosquito- proof your rabbit’s hutch with fly screen netting from your local hardware store. If you keep your bunny outside, it is best to bring them inside at dusk and dawn if you can, as this is when mosquitoes are at their worst. If your bunny stays outdoors overnight, burn mosquito coils and remove any stagnant water sources that may attract mosquito larvae.
Myxomatosis is a devastating disease that rabbits are highly susceptible to. Taking these preventative measures will help to protect your pet from the virus, and hopefully keep them living a healthy, long life. If you’re worried about your rabbit, come see us as soon as you notice any warning signs.