Rabbit haemorrhagic disease (RHD)

Rabbit haemorrhagic disease (RHD), also known as viral haemorrhagic disease or calici virus is a fatal disease found in the UK. Both outdoor and indoor rabbits are at risk, regardless of where you live.  The virus can be spread rabbit to rabbit, or though other routes such as on clothes that have been near an infected rabbit. The virus can live survive in the environment for a long time, and survives in very low temperatures.  

Classic RHD is unfortunately a very sudden killer, giving little or no warning. Rabbits may die without showing any symptoms at all. Some bleeding from the nose, mouth and rectum is sometimes seen. We have had “classic” RHD in the country for decades and we try to protect our rabbits against it by vaccinating for it alongside myxomatosis in our routine rabbit vaccinations that occur yearly.

Unfortunately in 2015 a new strain of RHD virus emerged in rabbits within the UK – named RHD2. This strain of virus works in a very similar way and again, results in death. Our existing vaccination does not protect your rabbit from RHD-2.

We are pleased to announce we have been able to obtain a vaccination that does cover your rabbit for RHD-2, yet it doesn’t cover your rabbit for “classic” RHD or myxomatosis. This means you still need to use the original vaccine to ensure your rabbits are covered against myxomatosis and classic RHD in addition.

This means your rabbit will need two vaccinations a year, all need to be at least 2 weeks apart.
Remember that no vaccine is 100% effective (for humans or animals) but by vaccinating against these diseases it means your rabbits have a chance of survival if they should come into contact with the virus.