March Pet Care Newsletter
ALERT TO ALL RABBIT OWNERS.
A new fatal strain of calicivirus RHDV1 K5 has been released for rabbit control in Australia. Rabbit calicivirus is very infectious and can cause rapid sudden death in rabbits with very little obvious signs of prior illness.
There are a number of ways you can keep your rabbits safe.
Immediate vaccination with Cylap calicivirus vaccine should be considered for all rabbits that have not been vaccinated in the past 4 months.
Kits should be vaccinated at 4, 8 and 12 weeks then 6 monthly (nb this recommendation is the NOT the same as previous advice).
Adult rabbits should be vaccinated 6 monthly (nb. this recommendation is NOT the same as previous advice).
Currently there is a shortage of supply of Cylap calicivirus vaccine available for veterinary use. We will update you as more vaccine becomes available. This is likely to be 2-4 weeks.
MANAGEMENT OF VIRUS EXPOSURE
Your rabbit may come in contact with rabbit calicivirus through direct or indirect exposure.
It is expected the virus will spread rapidly through wild rabbits. In areas where wild rabbits are close to domestic rabbits it is especially important to prevent contact.
The most significant way in which virus will spread is by insects. Insects such as flies or biting insects can spread virus over long distances to susceptible rabbits. Ensure insect populations are controlled around your rabbit by either bringing rabbits indoors or using insect screens and minimize attractions for insects such as litter or stagnant water.
Do not feed cut grass as this may be contaminated with virus.
Disinfect cages and equipment with thorough cleaning and use disinfectants such as 10% bleach, 10 % sodium hydroxide or parvocide.
Remove any dead rabbits and prevent exposure to live rabbits.