Are you aware that bunnies need vaccinations just like cats, dogs, and humans do? It’s a surprising fact to many a new rabbit parent, but it’s a necessary part of the journey if you want to live a long, happy, and healthy life together. If you’re considering adding a bunny to your household, here’s everything you need to know about vaccinations…
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- Do Bunnies and Rabbits Need Shots
- What Shots Do Rabbits Need
- Rabbit Vaccination Schedule
- How Much Are Rabbit Vaccinations
Do Bunnies and Rabbits Need Shots
Yes, your bunnies and rabbits do need shots, in much the same way that other pets and humans need shots. They are a preventative measure to ensure your pet doesn’t suffer from common diseases that are often difficult or long-winded to treat.
Two main diseases can affect rabbits, both of which have the potential to be very unpleasant and even fatal. These are:
- Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus (RHDV);
Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus (RHDV) is a highly contagious and often deadly viral disease that affects rabbits. It is caused by a calicivirus that can lead to severe illness and high mortality rates in both domestic and wild rabbits. There are multiple strains of RHDV, and they can vary in terms of their virulence and the severity of the disease they cause.
Myxomatosis is also a viral disease that primarily affects rabbits, causing severe illness and, again, often leading to high mortality rates. It is caused by the myxoma virus, which is a member of the poxvirus family. Myxomatosis was originally introduced as a method of controlling wild rabbit populations, but it also affects domestic rabbits.
Read more: Pet Vaccinations Guide For Cats & Dogs
What Shots Do Rabbits Need
In the US, you can have rabbits vaccinated against RHDV and RHDV2, which are two different strains of Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus. According to PetMD research, RHDV2 is highly resistant to treatment, spreads very easily, and takes no less than a few days (in some cases) to kill 70–100% of all infected bunnies.
RHDV can lead to sudden death in rabbits with little to no apparent signs of illness. In some cases, rabbits may be found dead without any prior noticeable symptoms. Affected rabbits often become lethargic and may show a lack of interest in food and water, and hemorrhaging (bleeding) can occur, leading to bloody nasal discharge, internal bleeding, or bloodstained feces.
These are medical emergencies that Petcube’s Emergency Fund can be activated for, but not when the pet parent hasn’t done their due diligence and taken their rabbits to be vaccinated. Virtually all pet insurance policies would also be voided for non-vaccinated pets, too.
RHDV is also highly contagious and can spread through direct contact with infected rabbits, their bodily fluids, and contaminated objects. Insects, particularly biting insects like fleas and mosquitoes, can also transmit the virus between rabbits.
Vaccinations for myxomatosis are available in the UK and Europe, but due to a lack of approval from the United States Department of Agriculture, they are not yet available in the US. This may change in the future as cases within the pet rabbit population increase.
Other conditions your bunny might be offered vaccinations for include:
- Other or new localized disease outbreaks that threaten rabbits.
Read more: How Often Do You Take a Cat to the Vet?
Rabbit Vaccination Schedule
Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus (RHDV) is a highly contagious and often fatal disease in rabbits. There are multiple strains of RHDV, and vaccination protocols may differ based on the strain present in your region.
The very first vaccination should be given to young rabbits, also known as kits, at approximately 10 to 12 weeks of age. It’s worth speaking to your vet about microchipping at the same time if you haven’t already considered it.
Boosters for rabbit vaccinations are administered every 12 months, for the most part. Depending on the vaccine used and the strain of RHDV, boosters are sometimes recommended every 6 months.
To determine the appropriate vaccination schedule for your rabbit, consult with a rabbit-savvy veterinarian who can provide personalized guidance based on your rabbit's health, age, and local disease prevalence.
Additionally, keep in mind that proper rabbit husbandry, including a clean and safe environment, a balanced diet, regular exercise, and preventive measures against external parasites, is essential for maintaining your rabbit's overall health and well-being.
Read more: How Often Should I Take My Dog to the Vet?
How Much Are Rabbit Vaccinations
The cost of vaccinations and other bunny healthcare will fluctuate from one surgery to another and also from state to state. As a general ballpark, you’ll be looking at paying anywhere from $40 to $70 per vaccination, once or twice per year.
You may also need to consider a checkup appointment. Your rabbit will need to undergo a physical examination, and your vet will likely want to check that your pet isn’t already infected. If they are fit and healthy and there is no risk of potential medication interactions, the vaccination will be administered.
Read more: What To Expect From An Online Vet Visit
At what age do rabbits need vaccinations?
Your bunnies should have their first vaccinations before they reach 12 weeks of age. Vets will vaccinate at around 5 or 6 weeks of age, but this does vary. It’s never too late to have your pet vaccinated. Consult with your vet for more information on how you can better protect your furry family members.
Do bunnies need rabies shots?
No, bunnies do not need rabies shots. Some veterinary practices will offer rabies vaccinations for rabbits in areas where the disease is prevalent, but infections in rabbits are quite rare, thankfully.
When you consider just how severe RHDV and myxomatosis are, it doesn’t make sense to forgo one or more vaccinations that could easily prevent them. There are likely to be some side effects, of course, but these are often far less painful than the diseases they help to stop.
Why not have a chat with one of Petcube’s qualified and professional vets for more information on how to vaccinate and otherwise care for your bouncing bunny?
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