Myxomatosis is sometimes know as Myxi or Myxo which arrived in the UK in the 1950s and decimated the wild population of rabbits. It is still deadly and all rabbits – even indoor rabbits – are at risk.
Signs of myxomatosis
It often starts with severe inflammation of the pink bit of the inside of the eyelids (conjunctivitis). Next it will cause swellings of the eyelids, around the head and the genitals. They become increasingly weak, lose their sight and most likely eventually die.
Rabbits may catch the virus is by being bitten by an insect that has previously bitten an infected rabbit. These include fleas but also probably midges and mites.
Direct rabbit-to-rabbit spread can also occur.
All pet rabbits are at risk, even indoor rabbits. However, rabbits living outside, especially if they are near to wild rabbits are at a greater risk of contracting the disease.
There is no specific treatment for this viral disease. Even with good supportive care which includes fluids, antibiotics, nutrition etc. the prognosis is guarded and unfortunately many rabbits die or are put to sleep.
Vaccination is the main thing that can prevent your rabbit getting myxo. It can be given from 5 weeks of age and is often given combined with Rabbit Viral Heamorrhagic Disease (RVHD). This vaccination will need to be repeated every year.
The vaccination is not 100% effective and vaccinated rabbit can still catch myxo. However, the signs are often mild and rabbits will often recover with appropriate care.
In addition to the vaccination here are a list of things that can help reduce the risk of your rabbit getting myxomatosis.
- Buy dust extracted hay or kiln-dried grass
- Fit insect screens to outside enclosures
- Remove freestanding water where mosquitoes may breed
- Treat all your pets for fleas
- Ensure wild rabbits do not have access to your garden
- Try to discourage vermin and other wild animals into the outdoor runs and hutches
For more information about the vaccination or to book an appointment please contact the clinic today.
Teddington: 0208 977 3955
Shepperton: 01932 229 900
Surbiton: 0208 390 5270