Keeping your Rabbit safe from Myxomatosis
Rabbit disease Myxomatosis surfaces from time to time and there is no treatment. It is caused by the myxoma virus, a poxvirus spread between rabbits by close contact and biting insects such as fleas and mosquitoes. The virus causes swelling and discharge from the eyes, nose and anogenital region of infected rabbits. Most rabbits die within 10-14 days of infection however highly virulent strains of the myxoma virus may cause death before the usual signs of infection have appeared. Myxomatosis was introduced to Australia in 1950 to reduce pest rabbit numbers. The virus initially reduced the wild rabbit population by 95% but since then resistance to the virus has increased and less deadly strains of the virus have emerged.
Pet Rabbits do not have any resistance to this and there are no vaccines available in Australia and as there is no cure, protecting your rabbit is the only option.
If your pet rabbit does develop myxomatosis, your vet will advise the best course of action. Unfortunately, treatment is rarely successful, even if started early and the course of disease is very painful and stressful. Make sure you disinfect your rabbit hutch, water bottles and food bowls with household bleach, rinsing it so that it cannot be ingested by any other rabbits.
It's not a good idea to bring a new rabbit home for at least four months after a case of myxomatosis as the virus is able to survive in the environment for some time.
How can I protect my Rabbit from Myxomatosis?
Rabbits can attract dog fleas and also get bitten by mosquitoes both of which can transmit myxomatosis. your best defence is to fly screen outdoor cages, keep rabbits inside the house and keep rabbits flea treated with either Revolution or Advantage