Rabbits and Myxomatosis

We recommend rabbits are vaccinated every 12 months to protect them against contracting potentially fatal diseases such as Myxomatosis. As the weather warms up, there is an increasing risk of your rabbit contracting this and other diseases.

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%.

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.

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 head and genital areas, this will likely be most pronounced around the eyes
  • Discharge from the eyes, ears or nose
  • Acute conjunctivitis that leads to blindness
  • Patches of mange
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fever
  • Respiratory problems

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

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.

How is Myxomatosis treated?

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

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. Click here to find out how to spot the signs and prevent the infection. 

Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease (RHD2 or VHD2) is a relatively new and fatal disease affecting rabbits across the UK. Click here to learn 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.

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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 be fatal. It’s important to stay vigilant and protect your pet this summer.

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.