VHD-2 (Viral Haermorrahoagic Disease 2) is a variant of the classic VHD-1 and has been infecting wild rabbit populations throughout the UK since 2013. It can be spread to domestic pet rabbits via infected wild rabbits and can survive in the environment for up to 200 days.
This disease must be vaccinated against in order to protect your rabbits. VHD-2 can affect the liver and reduce clotting which leads to bleeding disorders and possible death. However infected rabbits can just appear ‘unwell’, off food, losing weight or jaundiced (yellow colouring of gums and whites of eyes). There is no specific treatment for this disease and prevention is better than cure.
Your rabbit can currently be protected against VHD-1 in combination with Myxomatosis with a vaccine every 12 months. However this offers no protection against VHD-2. A separate vaccine must be given 2 weeks apart from the VHD-1/MYXOMATOSIS vaccine, from 10 weeks of age and a booster given annually.
In summary: All domestic rabbits kept indoors and outdoors should be vaccinated annually for VHD-1/MYXOMATOSIS and VHD-2 given at least 2 weeks apart, and from the age of 10 weeks.
If you have any questions please contact your local Blythwood clinic.