Vaccinating your Rabbit

Vaccinating your Rabbit

Vaccinations and your Rabbit

Part of taking care of your rabbit is ensuring they receive all their vaccinations to prevent diseases from developing. Rabbits, if unvaccinated, can become very sick and vulnerable to illnesses such as Viral Haemorrhagic Disease(VHD) and Myxomatosis (Myxy) which can become fatal in contracted. If your rabbit being kept outdoors, it is even more vital that they receive all their vaccinations.

In this blog post, I will walk through the different vaccines vets administer to rabbits, the diseases they prevent, and when you should get your rabbit vaccinated.

Dr Bobby Ortiz, small and exotic pet vet, posing with a bunny patient

Dr. Bobby Ortiz, M.V.B.

Dr Bobby Ortiz, aka 'Dogtor Bob', is a small animal and exotic veterinarian based in Dublin. He has a strong interest in Small Mammal (rabbits, guinea pigs, ferrets) and Reptile medicine and surgery.

He grew up in a family of avid animal lovers, which led him to work as an Aquarist at the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific in California. It was there he decided he wanted to become a vet, and specialise in exotic animals, that needed the same care and medical attention that dogs and cats are given.

He lives with his wife and Brittany Spaniel Bodhi, and has dreams to build a new tropical marine fish tank in the near future!

When Should I Vaccinate my Rabbit?

It’s vital that your rabbit is vaccinated against the two diseases known as Myxomatosis and Viral Haemorrhagic Disease (VHD1 and VHD2). A single injection for each disease will fully protect your rabbit. The first shot can be given at 8-10 weeks, and then the second shot can be administered on a yearly basis.  Your local vet can advise you on these vaccinations and regular booster injections.

What Will My Rabbit Be Protected Against?

There are several common rabbit diseases, many of which are contagious, the two most dangerous being the ones mentioned above, Viral Haemorrhagic Disease(VHD) and Myxomatosis (Myxy).

Viral Haemorrhagic Disease(VHD)

Symptoms include high fever, spasms and bleeding or haemorrhaging, liver failure, lack of appetite, weight loss, and nose bleeds. It can often go unnoticed and become too serious once it’s too late. It is easily transmitted through contact with an infected rabbit, or spread via objects that have been contaminated or the environment. There is no effective treatment for it, which is why vaccination is essential.


Myxomatosis is a virus that is spread through insects like fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes. This virus is prevalent in some parts of the country, so it’s important your bunny is vaccinated against it. Symptoms include  puffy swelling of the face, ears and or eyes which can lead to blindness and difficulty eating and drinking. There may also be random swollen lumps across the rabbit’s body and genitals. It can also cause high fever and death usually occurs within 10-14 days. This virus can also be transmitted by humans after handling an infected animal.

After you have visited your vet and the required vaccinations have been administered for your pet bunny, you will be given a document that shows your rabbit is vaccinated and when you will need to bring him in again to get the next round of vaccinations.

rabbit eating hay at petting zoo

Protecting your Rabbit

A healthy diet, regular exercise and a clean home will help to keep your rabbit in good health. Here are some tips to ensure he stays healthy:

  • Make sure he gets his regular boosters for the rest of his life
  • Ensure any other pets you have in the home are treated for fleas and use insect-proof screens in your rabbit’s hutch to deter flies and mosquitos.
  • Your rabbit’s cage or hutch should be cleaned at least once a week using a pet-safe disinfectant, while water and feeding bowls should be cleaned every day.

A healthy rabbit will:

  • Be alert with bright eyes
  • Have dry and clean nostrils
  • Have a shiny coat

If you become concerned about any aspect of your rabbit’s wellbeing Petmania’s Pet Care Advisors have a wealth of experience and knowledge that they are only too happy to share, so please ask.

  • Do not allow any contact with domestic rabbits and wild rabbits to prevent disease.

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