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The theme of this year’s Rabbit Awareness Week (RAW – which takes place annually in June) was RHD2 – a variant of RHD1 that can be fatal to our bunnies if they’re not vaccinated against it!
Rabbit Viral Haemorrhagic Disease 2 is a new strain of RHD that first appeared around 4 years ago in 2015. Just like RHD1, it causes rabbits to suffer internal bleeding and is as good as symptomless in its early stages, making it very difficult to spot! When symptoms do occur, they’re easy to mistake for symptoms of other conditions.
The RHD2 virus is stubborn. In fact, it can survive in its environment for up to 6 months – especially in colder climates. This contradicts what many owners believe: that RHD can only survive in/on an infected bunny and can therefore only be transmitted directly from rabbit to rabbit. Whilst this is true, the virus can enter your rabbit’s environment in all sorts of other ways:
As you’ll see from this list, trying to prevent your rabbit coming into contact with RHD2 is a nigh-on impossible task.
Even in it’s most advanced form, RVD2 is more or less symptomless. Your rabbit may have a fever, appear lethargic or their personality may seem different but none of these symptoms are exclusive to Viral Haemorrhagic Disease so if you’re suspicious or concerned, always contact us as soon as you possibly can.
Sadly, there’s no known cure for RHD2. While there are some methods of supportive treatment out there, and while some rabbits do recover, this is very rare. In most cases, RHD 1 or 2 is fatal to rabbits.
Now you’re talking!
Thankfully, a simple vaccination and annual booster can drastically lower your bunny’s chances of contracting RHD 1 or 2. We’ll usually administer these separately – one vaccination against RHD1 and Myxomatosis and a second vaccination designed specifically to prevent RHD2.
We’ll happily advise on a suitable course of vaccinations and boosters for your bunnies. As an owner, the most important thing you can do is make sure they make all of their appointments!
That our easivac and 365 Pet Care Plan include the RHD1 & RDH2 vaccinations? So if you’re looking for an affordable treatment plan to care for your bunny rabbit check out our two rabbit friendly healthcare plans here.
In the meantime, you can find out more useful rabbit tips on the RAW website here – Rabbit Awareness Week.
With very bets wishes,