Cases of the new strain of Rabbit Viral Haemorrhagic Disease have been confirmed in the south coast as RVHD2 continues to spread throughout the UK.
It is now suspected that RVHD2 is wide spread across Dorset and is a danger to both indoor and outdoor rabbits.
Unlike the original strain of virus RVHD1, which caused both internal and external bleeding, RVHD2 can be completely symptomless and can result in death in as little as 1-3 days after infection.
Local veterinary nurse at ‘The Pet Practice’ in Bournemouth, Jazmin Davies, says her practice has seen two suspected cases of the virus. In both instances, the disease has resulted in death.
Jazmin says the new strain has evolved to survive longer, this means the disease can spread more effectively. Therefore, early vet intervention is crucial.
The Rabbit Welfare Association (RWAF), a UK charity which promotes rabbit wellbeing, first discovered a UK case of RVHD2 in a rabbits’ post mortem in December 2015.
Buzz News asked Rachael Todd, RWAF Director, the latest update on the disease.
The RWAF have said they are very concerned about the recent spread of the virus.
The first strain of RVHD has been known to veterinary professionals and pet owners for a number of years. RVHD and common rabbit disease ‘myxomatosis’ are preventable by use of the common annual rabbit vaccination Nobivac Myxo-RHD.
Racheal is frightened by the continuing rate of evolution of RVHD2.
The virus is spread through contact. It is possible for humans to pass the virus onto a healthy rabbit if we have been in contact with the strain. RVDH2 can even live in the hay rabbits eat or on the walls of their hutches.
The only current prevention of the virus is through vaccination.
RVHD2 is not treated by the current Nobivac Myxo-RHD annual vaccination, but via a separate vaccination that is available across the UK and here in Dorset. The RWAF believe it is so important to promote use of both vaccines.
Rachael says many UK veterinaries now stock them.
The advice from both Jazmin and the RWAF is to contact your local veterinary service about their Filavac or the Eravac services to vaccinate your pet as soon as possible.
Article created by Connor Tracy and Jessica Cerasale