Friday, 27 May 2016

RVHD2 vaccine shortly available in the UK

We are pleased to announce that after long discussions with Filavie, a vaccine manufacturer in France, and NVS, a Veterinary Wholesalers in the UK, we will very shortly have, for sale in the UK, a vaccine against RHD2. This also covers RHD1. The full order should be in stock from Mid June, with relatively small amounts available before then. Please ask your vet to contact NVS to discuss exact anticipated stock arrival dates and to assist them with some idea of expected demand. You still need to vaccinate your rabbits with Nobivac as previously, please discuss this with your vet. We are enormously grateful to our wonderful Vet Dr Richard Saunders for doing the necessary research and negotiation with the manufactuer, then arranging the necessary import paperwork , and then liasing with NVS in order for them to be able to supply it. On behalf of Bunnies everywhere we thank you Richard!

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Rabbits do not need to be fully reclined to be in a trance

Rabbits that have been frequently placed in a TI position learn to anticipate when this will happen, and become stressed more quickly and enter a TI state more quickly. Rabbits do not have to be have to be fully reclined to be in a TI/Trance. Gallup, G.G. (1974) Animal hypnosis: factual status of a fictional concept. Psychological Bulletin, 81, 836-853 McBride, A, (2015) Animals in trances: peace of mind or panic. Rabbiting On, Winter 2015 issue, 10-12 This article is from our current issue of Rabbiting On: If you love rabbits and want to receive our excellent magazine every quarter sign up here (UK):

Saturday, 30 January 2016

RHVD2 update

RE RVHD2 Hi All. To avoid confusion between vets and owners, this same message is going out to all our vet and owner members so that everyone will have the same information available. RVHD2 IS present in the UK, and has been for a couple of years , as evidenced by the Westcott and Choudhury paper ( WESTCOTT D. G., CHOUDHURY B. (2015) Rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus 2-like variant in Great Britain. Veterinary Record 176, 74 doi:10.1136/vr.102830). Since that paper came out, we have had a number of reports, from Dorset to East Anglia, of laboratory confirmed RVHD2. We have also had a large number of unconfirmed reports, based on a range of findings, from clinical suspicion, to detailed post mortems. We established an import process for "Cunivak RHD", and, unfortunately have exhausted the company's stocks. We are therefore exploring other vaccine options. To bring everyone up to speed on the situation: 1. Is the current Nobivac Myxo-RHD effective against RVHD2? No, unfortunately not, according to MSD, the company making it. However, it is vital to still continue to vaccinate rabbits against Myxomatosis, the main preventable fatal viral disease of rabbits, and RVHD1, which is still the main strain found in the UK, with Nobivac Myxo-RHD. 2. What exactly is the supply situation with Cunivak RHD? To the best of our knowledge, this is completely out of stock, and a date for new supplies is still not known. We await more information on this from the company. When we have more information on this, or the next point, we will send out another message to everyone on our list. 3. Are other vaccines available? We are revisiting the other vaccines that we identified earlier, in order to determine if another option is available. We initially selected Cunivak as it was available in single doses, to avoid splitting multidose vials with short shelf lives once open, between rabbits, as this could have biosecurity concerns if vaccinating a large number of rabbits in a short space of time. This process is likely to take some time, but once we know more, we will let people know the details. One thing that would REALLY help us is if vets and owners can report any cases of RVHD. If you know of any, please could you contact us on with the following info: approximate geographical location; number of rabbits affected and their ages; how diagnosed: eg suspected, gross post mortem, histopathology, or specific viral test, in which case was this RVHD1 or RVHD2. We would recommend that vets reserve a second dose of vaccine for those rabbits which have already received a first dose. If you are a vet who has already vaccinated a rabbit with a first dose, and has insufficient vaccine for that animal's second dose, please contact me via to discuss the options.

Thursday, 21 January 2016

New vaccine update

We have heard from a lot of vets in the past week who wanted to know how to order the new vaccine.This is going to mean that there should be a reasonable spread across the country of vets who are stocking it. However, many vets will simply not see enough rabbits to make it a commercially viable decision to order it in. If your vet does not stock it it's worth phoning around to find out who has it. Please make sure that if you do this, both vets in question know that your rabbit is under the care of 2 separate vets. This is important for good communication regarding any health issues, and in terms of timing the VHD2 vaccines appropriately with their existing Nobivac Myxo-RHD.

Thursday, 14 January 2016

New vaccine imported for deadly rabbit disease

Dr Richard Saunders BSc (Hons) BVSc MSB CBiol DZooMed (Mammalian) MRCVS Referral Vet, Zoo and Exotic Species, has responded to growing concerns about a new variant of the deadly disease rabbit VHD (RVHD2) and made it possible for UK vets to import a new vaccine to protect their pet rabbits. Richard, The Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund's (RWAF) Specialist Veterinary Adviser warns that the current 'combi' vaccine available in the UK does not offer protection against the new RVHD strain, known as RVHD2, and that owners will need to add this second vaccine called 'Cunivak VHD' to their annual vaccination schedule to give their rabbits full protection against the 2 deadly diseases. Over the past year there has been an increasing concern regarding RVHD2 becoming a cause of deaths in several outbreaks in the UK. As a result, Richard, on behalf of the RWAF, with valuable assistance from the APLA, Ann Pocknell (Finn Pathologists), Mark Stidworthy and Daniela Denk (IZVG) and Tariq Abou-Zahr (Great Western Referrals) have been putting together a disease risk assessment. The RWAF has now successfully established an SIC (Special Import Certificate) for a suitable EU member state vaccine, Cunivak RHD, and placed an order for a small number of vaccines to establish an ordering system into the UK. If vets require any further information, they should contact the RWAF at for our information sheet. The RWAF urges all rabbit owners to discuss this new vaccine with their own vet. The RWAF holds a list of rabbit savvy vets, if you would like to know of rabbit savvy vets in your area please contact us on Any vet practices who would like to apply to be included can also contact us via the same e-mail address, or visit our website

Sunday, 13 September 2015

15 emergency reasons to see a vet NOW!

15 things you need to see a rabbit savvy vet about NOW 1 -Not moving around / sitting hunched up 2 – Change of food preference or loss of appetite 3 – Smaller, fewer or no poos 4 – Broken bones / legs 5 - Collapse 6 – Mouth breathing 7 – Runny eyes/ nose/coughing/sneezing/ wheezing 8 - Flystrike 9 – Blood in urine 10 – Dribbling / wet fur around mouth 11 – Haemorrhage 12 – Fitting 13 – Screaming 14 – Diarrhoea 15 – Significant wounds

Friday, 21 August 2015

Vaccination announcement

MSD Animal Health will be experiencing a temporary supply shortage with Nobivac Myxo-RHD for the period end of August to the end of October. This is due to an unexpected production delay. They apologise sincerely for the inconvenience this may cause but wished to give some advance notice to practices to facilitate practice planning and so that they are in a position to appropriately inform those rabbit owners that may be affected. No other MSD Animal Health vaccines are affected by the supply issue and this issue not related to any quality, safety or efficacy issue with vaccine being used currently. MSD are working to improve this timeline and as an interim solution they are looking to provide an alternative multiple dose presentation of the same product from mid-September. Whilst we appreciate that this may be less than ideal it should ensure with appropriate planning that rabbit vaccines will continue to be available over this period to allow sufficient availability to provide essential cover for vulnerable rabbits. Your veterinary practice should be receiving communications from MSD about this, and will be in the best position to advise owners due vaccines for their rabbits in their area over the next few weeks as to how and when they can get their rabbits vaccinated It is important not to bring your rabbit's vaccinations forward in the short term since adequate product is expected to be available to ensure coverage of the population in the short term. Vets may have to prioritise vaccination of young and high risk rabbits in the short term but it is anticipated that there should be sufficient product available to cover demand once the alternative supply of product is expected to become available in mid-September Practices will be best placed to advise on other ways of reducing the risk of infectious disease - stringent biosecurity and parasite control to reduce the opportunities of infection are particularly vital at this time. Take steps to ensure your rabbits are kept well away from potential sources of infection such as wild rabbits, and discuss with your vet how best to manage the risk of fleas and flies during this period. MSD apologise for any inconvenience caused, and are communicating with practices to address the issues, doing all they can to provide an alternative. Since the alternative product has to be used within a few hours of opening, it is likely that many practices will be offering vaccination clinics to ensure that as many rabbits can be vaccinated as possible. To this end good communication between vets and owners will be needed to make sure the maximum number of rabbits benefit. Communication between rabbit organisations to group together rabbits for vaccination at practices may greatly help. FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS MYXOMATOSIS AND RHD Q: What are Myxomatosis and RHD? A: Myxomatosis is a disease of rabbits caused by infection with myxoma virus. It is typically spread by blood sucking insects – in particular fleas and mosquitoes. The virus can also spread from rabbit to rabbit if the animals are housed together. Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease (RHD), also known as Viral Haemorrhagic Disease, is caused by a calicivirus which is spread by direct contact between rabbits (both wild and domestic) and by indirect contact. Possible indirect contact can be through people, clothing, contaminated hutches and bedding, as well as insect vectors such as fleas or flies. Q: Why isn’t there a vaccine available? A: We buy our rabbit vaccine from the manufacturer, MSD Animal Health. Unfortunately they are temporarily out of stock of their Nobivac Myxo-RHD vaccine and this has led to a general shortage of this type of vaccine. MSD Animal Health is doing everything possible to produce the vaccine as quickly as possible and your rabbit will be revaccinated against this disease once vaccine is available again. Q: What can I do to protect my rabbit from myxomatosis and RHD in the meantime? A: While vaccination is an important way of protecting your rabbit(s) there are a number of measures you can take to minimise exposure to the disease, in particular by reducing and risks from contact with wild rabbits and by attending carefully to parasite control (please see accompanying guidance). Q: What signs should I look out for? A: Given appropriate precautions it is unlikely that your rabbit will succumb to these diseases. Nevertheless it’s wise to be vigilant and contact us should you suspect illness. Signs of myxomatosis to look out for in your rabbit include swollen, almost closed eyes and other localised swellings around the head, face, ears, lips, anus and genitallia, which can appear within a few days of infection. Infected rabbits become very lethargic with a high fever and often develop discharges from eyes and nose with breathing problems Signs of RHD to look out for include lethargy, collapse, difficulty in breathing, convulsions, high body temperature, and bleeding from the nose. Q: When will the vaccine be back on the market? A. The manufacturer is expecting some product to be back in supply by mid-September, with full supply resumed at the end of October. Q: Will I have to start a full course of vaccines again once the product becomes available? A. A single dose is all that is required for both an initial course or a booster