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