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Do you know how to protect your rabbits against this deadly virus?

Do you know how to protect your rabbits against this deadly virus?

There are various health problems that can affect rabbits, many of which if untreated, can be fatal. So as a rabbit owner, it’s important you’re aware of these health problems and how to spot their symptoms.

While there are several factors that contribute to a rabbit’s health and well-being, their diet and exercise are among the most important. Like for humans, nutritious foods and the right amount of exercise play a large role in a rabbit’s health.

Many rabbit owners aren’t aware of, and haven’t yet vaccinated their rabbits against this deadly virus…

Rabbit Viral Haemorrhagic Disease 2

Rabbit Viral Haemorrhagic Disease 2 (RVHD2) is a deadly virus that causes internal bleeding. This new strain of Rabbit Viral Haemorrhagic Disease 1 (RVHD1) has been in the UK since 2015.

As RVHD2 is a fairly new strain, many owners aren’t aware of the vaccine to protect rabbits against it. This is a separate vaccine from the myxomatosis/RVHD1 vaccine, so make sure your rabbits get both.



Rabbits are prey animals, so by nature they will hide any signs of illness. This, combined with RVHD2 often not having any symptoms, makes spotting the infection very difficult.

Although rare, sometimes rabbits will display symptoms, these can include:

  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Spasms

However, these symptoms can often be mistaken for other health problems, so it’s always best to take your rabbit to the vets if you notice a change in their behaviour.


How does the virus spread?

Contrary to what some people believe, RVHD2 is not only spread through contact with an infected rabbit. There are various ways the virus can spread, including:

  • Human’s clothing or hands
  • Hay bales
  • Birds and insects and their droppings
  • The wind
  • Soles of shoes
  • Other pets’ feet
  • Infected rabbits and their droppings

Since the virus is extremely contagious and there are currently no methods of treatment available, the only way to protect your rabbits from contracting the illness is to vaccinate them.


Other common health conditions in rabbits

Some of the other health problems commonly seen in rabbits include:

  • Myxomatosis
  • Gut stasis
  • Dental disease/overgrown teeth
  • Flystrike
  • Snuffles

For more information on these health conditions, take a look at Rabbit Awareness Week’s Rabbit Health Fact File.