An annual vaccination is essential to protect pet rabbits against the highly fatal calicivirus which causes a haemorrhagic viral disease. Calicivirus is prevalent in the Australian wild rabbit population and is an approved population control strategy.
Rabbit Calicivirus Disease (or Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease Virus) is a life-threatening disease which can affect a rabbit within 12-18 hours of transmission. It is a virus with a high mortality rate and nearly 100% of rabbits die from the disease. There are a number of forms of calicivirus present in Australia. In the last few years there has been a change in the viral landscape of Australia due to the presence of the K5 and RHDV2 strains throughout Australia.
For further information on the current state of calicivirus in Australia please see our news posts on:
Is a vaccination reaction possible?
A small number of rabbits can experience a small skin reaction after a vaccination. This is due to the carrier part of the vaccination causing irritation and tissue damage. In most cases this irritation causes a small scab and some hair loss. This usually resolves after two weeks. In very rare cases, tissue damage can be more extensive, or rabbits may stop eating. If you are at all concerned please do not hesitate to contact us.
To prevent the above reactions we routinely change the needle after drawing up the vaccination, and massage the area after injection for one minute. We do ask if you keep your rabbit confined for 24 hours after the vaccination, particularly if they are prone to reactions. This decrease in activity helps to decrease tissue reaction. If it is a particularly hot day we may also reschedule your vaccination if we feel your rabbit is at risk of a reaction, as heat stress has been found to increase the likelihood of this.