Rabbits and Myxomatosis

We recommend rabbits are vaccinated every 12 months to protect them against contracting potentially fatal diseases such as Myxomatosis.

Rabbit beside hutch

What Is Myxomatosis?


Myxomatosis is a highly infectious viral disease that has a mortality rate in infected rabbits of between 95%-99%.

It’s a virus that attacks a rabbit’s skin, eyes, lung and liver and also their genitals. It’s a nasty disease, which can leave your rabbit more prone to other infections.

Vaccination is the best way to protect your rabbit.

How is Myxomatosis spread?


The infection can be transmitted via biting insects such as fleas, ticks, mites and mosquitos, though it can also be transmitted through direct contact with an infected rabbit.

It is commonly found in wild rabbits and is then often spread by the parasites from wild rabbits landing on domestic rabbits.


The symptoms of Myxomatosis


There are various symptoms that your rabbit could display if they have been infected by myxomatosis; these include:

  • Swelling around the eyes and the ears
  • A milky discharge from the eyes
  • A runny nose
  • Swelling around the genitals
  • Patches of mange
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fever
  • Breathing problems

If an unvaccinated pet catches the disease, it’s unlikely they’ll recover, even with intensive treatment.

If a vaccinated rabbit catches myxomatosis – the symptoms are much milder and they may get skin lumps or scabs on their face. If you suspect that your vaccinated rabbit does have myxomatosis, you should always see your vet as soon as possible.

How is Myxomatosis treated?


Unfortunately, there is no cure available for myxomatosis. Only supportive care can be given, so prevention is key.


Preventing Myxomatosis


The best way to prevent your rabbit from catching the disease is to regularly vaccinate them, there are a few other ways you can reduce the risk of them catching the myxoma virus:

  • Choose dust-extracted hay or kiln-dried grass.
  • Fit and regularly maintain fine mesh insect screens to outdoor enclosures.
  • If you have cats or dogs, make sure their flea and tick treatments are up to date.
  • Prevent wild rabbits from getting into your garden.
  • Ensure there’s nothing to attract vermin and wild birds to hutches or runs, and use small-hole mesh to keep unwelcome visitors out.

The Medivet Healthcare Plan is an easy way to get your rabbit fully vaccinated and protected against parasites. We have a plan that is designed especially for rabbits.


Can Myxomatosis be transmitted to humans or other pets?


Myxomatosis can only affect rabbits.


What other disease could affect my rabbit?


Flystrike (also known as myasis) is a serious condition in rabbits caused by flies laying eggs on their body. Find out how to spot the signs and prevent flystrike in rabbits.

Viral Haemorrhagic Disease (RHD1 and RHD2) is a fatal disease that affects rabbits across the UK. Find out more about this highly contagious virus and how to prevent it.

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The responsible rabbit owner’s guide

Owning a rabbit is a huge commitment. Refresh your knowledge of responsible rabbit ownership with our complete guide.

Pet Advice

Protecting your rabbit against RHD2

Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease variant two (RHD2 or VHD2) is a relatively new and fatal disease affecting rabbits across the UK. Learn more about this highly contagious virus and how to prevent it.

Pet Advice

Flystrike in Rabbits

Flystrike in rabbits is particularly common during warm weather and can prove fatal. Read more about how you can spot the signs and what you can do to prevent it. It’s important to stay vigilant and protect your rabbit this summer.

Bella the bunny with no collar

Healthcare Plans for rabbits

Help protect your pet from disease and ensure they live a long and happy life with the Medivet Healthcare Plan specially designed for rabbits.