Rabbit Vaccination

What vaccinations are available in New Zealand for Rabbits?

 

In New Zealand there is only one disease where vaccination is available. This is for Rabbit Calicivirus or RCD.

Rabbit Calicivirus is thought to have been deliberately introduced into New Zealand by farmers struggling with the ravages of an uncontrolled rabbit population. This disease is now endemic in the wild rabbit population and due to the nature of the disease, the level of infection in the wild rabbit population varies. Initially it was very effective in lowering

the rabbit population, but there is now a degree of immunity in the wild rabbit population and rabbit numbers have increased again.

 

We do not have myxomatosis in New Zealand, which is another deadly rabbit disease that is common worldwide. It has been used in other parts of the world to try and control rampant rabbit populations but there are no plans to introduce it into New Zealand. A vaccination is available for pet rabbits in countries where myxomatosis is found, such as the United Kingdom.

 


Should I vaccinate my pet rabbit?

 

In New Zealand, it is recommended that domestic rabbits should be vaccinated against Rabbit Calicivirus.

 

If you live in an area where it is possible that your rabbit might have contact with a wild rabbit (while wandering your garden or nose to nose through its hutch), then vaccination is absolutely essential.

If contact with wild rabbits is unlikely, then vaccination might not be considered essential, however we strongly recommend consultation with us before you make a decision.

Even if the risk is low, the cost of vaccination is a very small price to pay to ensure your rabbit has the best chance of not succumbing to the disease even in low risk areas.


Vaccination Protocol

 

If your rabbit is vaccinated prior to 12 weeks of age, it will need a booster vaccination at 4 week intervals until it is 12 weeks or more, followed up by annual boosters. If your rabbit receives a vaccination after 12 weeks of age, then only one injection is required initially, followed up with annual boosters.

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