RVHD in rabbits & the importance of rabbit vaccinations
Last Updated: 10/02/2023
RVHD is one of the more deadly rabbit diseases – it’s highly infectious, difficult to spot and can even be fatal to our bunnies.
Let’s take a closer look at RVHD, keeping your rabbit safe and why rabbit vaccinations are so crucial when it comes to maintaining your pet’s quality of life.
What is RVHD?
RVHD, or Rabbit Viral Haemorrhagic Disease, is a terribly infectious virus that causes internal bleeding in rabbits. As with other rabbit diseases such as Myxomatosis, RVHD is often fatal.
The RVHD virus can survive in its environment for up to 6 months, especially in colder climates. Bunnies can contract the condition from:
- Insect or bird droppings
- The wind
- The paws of other animals
- The soles of our shoes
- Car tyres
- The droppings of other infected rabbits
- Human clothes/hands
- Coming into contact with other infected rabbits
Because the virus is so difficult (nearly impossible) to avoid, there’s only one vet-approved method of protection: rabbit vaccinations.
Rabbit Viral Haemorrhagic Disease 2 is a new strain of RVHD that first appeared in 2015. It works in the same way as RVHD1 but you will need to get your rabbit to have a separate vaccine for this strain.
Possible symptoms of RVHD1 or 2 may include:
- A change in character/personality
However, these symptoms are not specific to RVHD – they can be signs of other rabbit diseases!
Sadly, RVHD is more or less symptomless, making it incredibly difficult to spot in its early stages.
Overall, no. There are some supportive treatments available but RVHD is fatal to rabbits in most cases, which is what makes vaccination so important…
So RVHD is a nightmare to spot and a nightmare to treat, but there is some good news. Thankfully, keeping your rabbit protected is a doddle. Vets will usually administer two separate vaccines: one against RVHD1 and Myxomatosis and a separate vaccination against RVHD2 a week later.
Your vet will administer these vaccines so all you need to do is turn up! Oh, and bring your bunny with you.
The cost of rabbit vaccinations will vary depending on the practice you visit. Pet Health Club practices allow you to spread the cost of your bunny’s preventative health care treatments.