Updated: Sep 16
If you’re a dog or cat parent, you know the importance of keeping up with vaccines to prevent disease and keep them healthy. But did you know you should also be getting your rabbit vaccinated as well?
Yes, that’s right!
Many pet parents don’t realize the veterinary care they need when it comes to exotic animals. Maybe you have the misconception that your exotic pet doesn’t need a vet unless they become ill, but this isn’t the case.
The truth is, rabbits can carry and spread illnesses just like dogs and cats can. So not only should they have an annual vet check, but there are also certain vaccinations you’ll want to keep up with to keep your bunny disease-free!
According to the RSPCA, “Rabbits need vaccinations to protect against myxomatosis, Rabbit (Viral) Hemorrhagic Disease (R(V)HD) and a new strain of R(V)HD - R(V)HD2 - all of which are often fatal and cause intense suffering to rabbits.”
This is especially important if you plan to board your rabbit at a licensed and professional pet care environment like ours.
Read on to find out what RHDV2 is and why getting your rabbit vaccinated for this disease is so important.
Reason #1: RHDV2 has no cure and is usually fatal
If you’ve had a pet pass away, you’ve probably asked yourself all kinds of difficult questions.
Could you have prevented their death in some way?
Is there something you could have done differently?
The worst nightmare for any pet parent is losing their animal, especially when it’s preventable.
Rabbit hemorrhagic disease, or RHDV2, has no cure. It’s an extremely serious disease that typically causes a high fever and internal bleeding. Although it may be possible for your rabbit to recover from RHDV2, sadly, most cases turn out to be fatal.
Since there are no effective treatment options out there for this disease, that means prevention is more important than ever!
Reason #2: The disease is easily spread
The RHDV2 disease is highly contagious, which is part of what makes it so scary for pet parents. It’s also an extremely resistant virus, surviving for long periods of time in extreme temperatures.
RHDV2 is mainly spread in three ways:
● Coming into direct contact with an infected rabbit
● Indirect exposure through contaminated objects or by people
● Insects carrying the disease
For example, if your rabbit eats out of a food dish that an infected bunny previously ate from, your pet may contract the virus if the dish wasn’t thoroughly disinfected between uses.
Additionally, if someone unknowingly handles their rabbit while they have the virus and then handles your rabbit, they have a chance of getting the disease.
In case you’re not convinced yet, this deadly rabbit virus has been confirmed right here in New York recently!
Reason #3: It affects both wild and domestic rabbits
Unlike other rabbit hemorrhagic disease viruses, RHDV2 affects both wild and domesticated rabbits.
So coming into contact with another pet rabbit with the disease isn’t the only way yours can contract it, unfortunately.
If there’s an outbreak of the virus among wild rabbits in your area, there is the potential of carrying the virus into your home on your shoes or clothing.
Though there are other ways to prevent this situation, such as washing your hands before handling your rabbit, the simplest solution is to get your rabbit vaccinated so you don’t have to worry.
Reason #4: Keep other pet rabbits safe
As a good pet parent, you should want to protect not only your rabbit but other rabbits as well. And the best way to do that is to get your furry friend vaccinated!
Maybe you’re thinking, “My rabbit never really sees other rabbits, so it doesn’t matter anyway.”
But, every time you take your pet to the vet or a boarding facility, you run the risk of infecting another rabbit. If another bunny comes in after you’ve left the building, they could potentially catch the virus.
Since RHDV2 is contagious and usually results in death, preventing the spread is essential. Getting your rabbit vaccinated will only take a small amount of time out of your day, but the rewards will be well worth it!
Reason #5: Board your rabbit without risk
Making arrangements for your rabbit during vacations can be a hassle. Maybe you don’t have any friends or family nearby to watch your pet.
That’s why so many pet parents rely on the services of boarding facilities! Boarding your rabbit while you’re away on a trip takes away a lot of stress because you won’t have to worry about whether or not your pet is being cared for properly.
However, boarding your pet does come with risks. One of those risks is the spread of illnesses and diseases. This is why it’s so important to make sure your rabbit is vaccinated!
As the vaccine becomes more accessible, many boarding facilities will start to require it to prevent any outbreaks from occurring.
When it comes to exotic pets, including rabbits, there is a lot of confusion out there about necessary veterinary care. Rabbits can carry and spread diseases just like dogs and cats can, so it’s essential to always keep them up to date on their vaccines!
Bird Girl Pet Services offers pet sitting, grooming, and boarding services in Long Island, NY, and the surrounding Nassau County area. In order to keep all the rabbits in our care safe, we will now be requiring the RHDV2 vaccine.
If you have any questions about the RHDV2 virus or our requirements for caring for your bunny, feel free to contact us!
So tell us, have you gotten your rabbit vaccinated? Why or why not?