A new strain of calicivirus was released on the 1st of March 2017. This strain was released by the Australian government to minimise and control the feral rabbit population. Therefore, we are recommending that all pet rabbit owners make sure their rabbits are up to date with vaccinations!!!
The Australian Veterinary Association recommends vaccinating baby rabbits at 4, 8, and 12 weeks of age, then every 6 months for life. Previously unvaccinated adults should receive 2 vaccines 1 month apart and then every 6 months for life. Usually it is recommended to only vaccinate once a year, but because it has not been fully proven that the vaccine is 100% effective against the new strain it is hoped that the extra vaccinations would give greater immunity.
The Australian Veterinary Association is recommending you also take the following measures;
- If possible, keep rabbits inside until vaccinated
- Prevent direct and indirect contact between domestic and wild rabbits
- Avoid cutting grass and feeding it to rabbits if there is the risk of contamination from wild rabbits
- Wash hands, with warm soapy water in between handling rabbits that are not normally in contact with each other
- Good insect control is vitally important and will help reduce the risks. Insect control should include insect proofing the hutch or keeping the rabbits indoors
- Infected rabbits should be isolated and any dead rabbits should be disposed of in a manner that will minimise environmental contamination. Contact your local vet for more information
- All cages and equipment should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. Disinfectants that can be used to decontaminate equipment include 10% bleach, 10 % sodium hydroxide, or parvocide disinfectants.”