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