We have been informed by the authorities that there will be a new release of the fatal Calicivirus across northern Sydney, including national parks, in late March. This measure is designed to control populations of feral rabbits and reduce their impact on our natural environment and native animals. Unfortunately, pet rabbits are also susceptible to this disease.
We are however permitted to vaccinate against it. Protection involves an initial course of two injections if the first is given at less than ten weeks of age, or a single injection for rabbits over that age, followed by an annual booster. So please ensure that your bunny’s vaccinations are current as soon as possible. This is probably also a good time to remind clients who have bunnies as pets that we are not permitted to vaccinate against Myxomatosis, the other fatal viral disease that was released into the environment early in the twentieth century.
We tend to have periods when we see a lot of “Myxo” cases, and there is unfortunately no effective treatment for the disease. It is spread by mosquito bites, so the best protection you can provide for your rabbit is to institute measures to minimise exposure to mosquitoes, particularly over the summer months. It is important to use mosquito-proof wire on cages, and to cover cages at night or carry them indoors.
Also avoid having your bunny’s hutch close to water sources such as fish ponds or bird baths, which may become mosquito breeding areas.