Vaccinating your rabbit
As a responsible pet owner you want to make sure your rabbits are as healthy as possible
throughout their lives. Just like your cat or dog, rabbits need vaccines too. It also doesn’t matter if
your rabbit lives inside or out, they all need vaccines to keep them protected from deadly viruses.
What will my rabbit be vaccinated against?
Rabbits are vaccinated against:
Myxomatosis is a severe, often fatal viral disease. It is caused by the myxoma virus and is spread by
insects such as fleas and mosquitos and direct contact with an infected rabbit. The virus causes
swelling and discharge of the eyes, nose and genitals. Most rabbits die within 10-14 days. It has such
a high mortality rate (96-100%) that if a rabbit contracts the virus sadly treatment is not an option.
Vaccinating your rabbit doesn’t 100% mean they will not contract the virus but there is a much
greater hope for survival and very minimal signs are usually seen and can be treated successfully.
Rabbit Viral Haemorrhagic Disease (RVHD)
There are two strains, RVHD 1 and RVHD2. Both strains are fatal. RVHD2 is a relatively new strain in
the UK and has been around since 2013. Both strains cause the rabbit to haemorrhage (bleed)
internally. RVHD1 can also show with haemorrhage from the nose and bottom shortly before death.
RVHD2 is to an extent worse as rabbits are infectious for longer before dying meaning they will have
spread it further. RVHD2 has no outward signs and rabbits are often just found dead, looking
RVHD is passed on through direct contact with an infected rabbit or indirectly via urine and faeces. It
can be passed from hay that wild rabbits have been on from a field, birds or insects on their feet,
blown by the wind or even on shoes if you’ve been for a walk where wild rabbits may be.
Vaccination is the only effective way to protect against this virus.
When can my rabbit start the vaccines?
Will my rabbit need one or two injections?
Currently there are three vaccines available and depending on what vaccine your rabbit has had
previously will determine which vaccine can be used.
We have all three; Nobivac Myxo-RHD, Eravac RHDV2 and
the brand new vaccine that combines
everything into one, Nobivac Myxo-RHD Plus.
Every rabbit will go onto the new combined vaccine in time but this may not be until next year if a
RVHD2 vaccine wasn’t given last year. Our vet will advise you at the time of your appointment. If you
need the two separate vaccines this year these are given 2 weeks apart. Usually Myxo and the
original strain of RHD first and then the RHD2 vaccine 2 weeks later.
Should my rabbit have booster vaccinations?
Yes. A booster vaccination will be due every 12 months.
Can my rabbit be vaccinated at the same time as being neutered to save multiple trips to the vet?
We do not advise a rabbit is vaccinated at the same time as neutering.
Rabbits should not be left unvaccinated until they are neutered as this puts them at risk of
catching one of the deadly viruses
It would also put the rabbit at greater risk of health complications post operatively and
potentially mean the vaccine wasn’t as effective due to the medications given at the time of
Are there any side effects to the vaccine?
Like all drugs, vaccines can have side effects, although problems in rabbits are very unusual. Skin
reactions are sometimes reported at the site of injection, and some rabbits are quieter for 24 hours
after vaccination but in general vaccines are very well tolerated in rabbits and you wouldn’t see any
difference in your rabbits’ behaviour.
How much does it cost?
The course for the old vaccines: £54
The new combined vaccine: £65
Clare Treacher RVN CertSAN ISFM CertFN
Registered Veterinary Nurse (RVN)
Certificate in Small Animal Nutrition (CertSAN)
ISFM Cert Feline Friendly Nursing (ISFM CertFN)