Protect Your Rabbit from Myxomatosis

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
  • Lethargy
  • Fever
  • Reduced appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Trouble breathing
  • Convulsions
  • Coma

 

Protecting your rabbit from Myxomatosis

 

Prevention is the only way to protect your pet from Myxomatosis.

 

Flea prevention

 

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.

 

Book an appointment online, or call us on 4955 6670

Meet the Fletcher Vet team

We enjoy a reputation as one of Newcastle’s best vet practices. Dr Paul Robin and his team have been caring for local pets (and their families) since 1998.

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