Monday, 2 May 2011

Myxomatosis in Rabbits

Myxomatosis in rabbits is a very horrible disease. Bugs such as fleas will carry this terrible disease and spread it to bunnies. I will tell you all about preventing this disease and the symptoms.

About The Disease..........

The virus originates for South America. This caused a mild disease in the rabbit population. The population of bunnies in Australia got out hand from them having no natural enemy. They then decided to internationally introduce the disease to the wild rabbits. Somehow, by accident the disease was introduced to the wild rabbits. 

How it Spread.................. 

This can be spread by direct or indirect contact. This is mainly by parasites usually from fleas, midges, mosquitoes and flies. To keep this from happening, make sure you scoop out your bunnies poo everyday along with scrubbing out there hutch once a week to be very clan and not attract bugs. If you notice that they have an infected eye, abscesses on the body or impacted faeces on their bottom, they are at risk. Make sure that if you see a fly land on a dying wild rabbit (who has the disease) that the fly doesn't land on your rabbit because they will end up with it and might die.

 The symptoms of myxomatosis in rabbits are quite easy to spot. They are swellings of the genitals and of the head, this is especially the eyelids considering they will usually end up blind. Your bunnies appetite will stay about the same until shortly before the death which is usually 13 days into the infection. Near the end of summer on country roads you may have seen wild bunnies sitting still not even able to eat or smell food. Starving to death. This is a heart breaking thing to see. Not all of the infected bunnies die. 10% of wild bunnies that get the disease, will survive. If your bunny catches the disease, it is most likely that the medicine you get can't cure them. They will end up with severe scabbing and scarring on their heads and body. In more humid weather if your bunny hasn't had the vaccination, make sure to look for any of these symptoms on them before its too late.


Any bunnies effected with the acute form of this disease, cannot be treated. To prevent them from suffering, euthanasia (putting them to sleep) is the only option. There is a chronic form of the virus if the bunny has built up some immunity. They will end up with lumps on their head, paws and ears which form scabs. They only have a 50% chance of surviving once the lesions shrink.  Some good home nursing and antibiotics are needed. 

To help prevent your bunny getting the disease, I recommend you doing the following:

Disinfect hutches- Make sure that it is a bunny suitable disinfectant. You can usually buy these at local pet shops. A regularly cleaned hutch will keep all the nasty flies away.

Vaccination- This is one of the best ways to prevent the terrible disease. Although your bunny may still catch this, it won't be as bad as it could be. You can first give them the vaccinations at 6 weeks old. The best time for them to get this is in May and June. Depending on how fatal the disease is in your area, you will either get it every 6 months or a yearly one. It is recommended to get the vaccination every 6 months though. Occasionally, a bunny may develop a lump from the vaccination, but this is completely normal.

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I hope you found this information about myxomatosis in rabbits useful. If you have any questions or concerns, comment on the post below.

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