This month marks the beginning of the Australian Government’s release of the K5 strain of RHDV, the virus most commonly known as calicivirus.  As previously mentioned in our coverage of the changing landscape of calicivirus strains present in Australia, K5 is an RHDVa strain, a form of virus similar to our original RHDV1 strain of calicivirus, which was introduced to control the wild rabbit population in the 90s (the two strains can be thought of as cousins).

While researching K5’s potential affect on the wild rabbit population the Government did undergo a small pilot study in which they vaccinated rabbits with our current calicivirus vaccine (CYLAP, which is specific to RHDV1 strains), and then exposed them to K5.  All vaccinated rabbits survived, an exceptional thing in a test using a non-specific vaccine!  While this study was a small one we can deduce that CYLAP has quite high protection for the K5 strain.

Australia does not currently have a more specific calicivirus vaccine, either for K5 or for the previously reported on RHDV2 strain (which is more of the third cousin who you only see at big family functions), however CYLAP appears to be holding up against both when vaccinations are kept up to date and administered correctly.

For previous news on calicivirus please see our vaccination page

“But there’s a vaccination shortage!”

Unfortunately the release of K5 has spread ripples of panic through our community, which has resulted in an increased demand for vaccines.  This in turn has lead to a shortage.  Some of you may have had similar issues through the end of last year, where shortages forced us to postpone many vaccination boosters.  Fortunately our experiences last year served us well, and as soon as the media started reporting on K5 we stocked up on CYLAP.

Melbourne Rabbit Clinic prides itself on following the most up-to-date vaccination protocols, which means that we follow the manufacturer’s recommendation to discard opened bottles of CYLAP after 12 hours.  This means that we have only 12 hours to administer 10 vaccinations without leading to wastage.  We are therefore trying to maximise the number of rabbits we are able to vaccinate in one day in order to make sure we are protecting as many of our furry friends as we can.

In order to do this we are organising vaccination days, aiming to make sure we have 10 rabbits coming in for vaccination on each day.  This does mean that if our days do not fill up we may need to reschedule vaccination appointments.  We apologise for the inconvenience, and hope you understand that we are trying to structure things so that we can keep as many bunnies safe as possible.

There are still vaccination spots available for this coming week (March 6 – 11), so if your bunny needs a vaccination please contact us about getting a spot!

How to book an appointment for our vaccination days:
  • Please contact Melbourne Rabbit Clinic on (03) 9758 8851.  Our reception will be able to let you know when the next available vaccination day is
  • If you are a new client we will take your details and will likely take a $20 deposit to hold your place.  This is our standard procedure for new clients, and will hopefully reduce cancellations, which would result in us wasting doses!
  • If you are booking in more than four rabbits for vaccination we will need to take a 50% deposit for your place.  Again, this is to prevent much needed vaccine going to waste; we have already had doses lost this week
  • If you do need to cancel, please inform us as soon as possible so that we can try to fill your spot
  • Unfortunately there may be times where we need to cancel your appointment and reschedule you.  We will contact you as early as possible to let you know.  We know that this is a difficult situation, but request that you be understanding of our reasons

Please be kind to our lovely receptionists and nurses who are taking responsibility for much of our organising!  They are wonderful and dedicated people and this is a stressful time for everyone, so they are doing their best to make sure everyone is safe

New faces, familiar faces

If you’ve been around the clinic in the last few months (we’re sorry for the lack of updates, it’s been super busy!), you may have seen some changing faces.  Melbourne Rabbit Clinic is delighted to introduce Dr Supanee Tan, who has joined our team from Perth to give Dr Zoe someone else to bond with about their dislike of Melbourne weather.  Dr Supanee is passionate about small furry friends, particularly small furry chinchilla bunnies, and is a welcome addition to our team.  We are very glad to have her!

Also back with us is our lovely senior nurse Hollie, who has returned from maternity leave.  For those who don’t know Hollie her family is made up of many many fluff children, including her team of cashmere lops, long-haired guinea pigs, and one naughty angora.  Hollie also now has a less fluffy child, her adorable daughter Pearl.  We’re delighted to have her back with the team!

Extended hours

With a new vet on board we are now able to open again for extended hours!  Melbourne Rabbit Clinic is now open till 7.30pm on Mondays and Wednesdays, allowing for later pickup from surgeries, and also for checkup times after the school and work rush.  Give us a call to book an appointment!