The following list of vaccinations is a guideline only. This information may vary from vet to vet, so always reconfirm at the time of consultation. It’s also important to note that there are no vaccination guidelines for all vets and areas of Australia, especially as some places have more risk than others of certain conditions.
Rabbit VHD (Viral Haemorrhagic Disease) Vaccination:
All rabbits need this vaccination annually or triennially depending on the brand used. If you haven’t changed over your yearly vaccine over from year one, then use the same lot numbers as required by your first injection. To date, my bunnies have been vaccinated against VHD2 only every year as they were an indoor/outdoor colony and the risk of exposure was always high.
That’s not to say I may consider triennial vaccination in the future when their environment changes from being an outdoor yard only.
My bunny Tink has been vaccinated against VHD annually since 2009 after her son, Flash, passed away from the disease when diagnosed too late for treatment – just one week before his passing.
Rabbit Calicivirus Vaccination:
All rabbits need this vaccination annually or triennially depending on the brand used. If you haven’t changed over your yearly vaccine over from year one, then use the same lot numbers as required by your first injection. My bunnies have been vaccinated against calici every year since they were a small indoor/outdoor colony.
Please note: In the past, rabbit owners may have been advised to vaccinate against myxomatosis. This is not a requirement in Australia as there has not been a case of this disease for many years now and if someone were to catch it, treatment would still be readily available.
Rabbit Encephalitozoonosis Vaccination:
There are vaccines available for this condition however I am yet to find any literature on their effectiveness. I choose not to vaccinate my rabbits at present from Rabbit VHD / Rabbit Calici as they live an indoor lifestyle only, but some vets may suggest an alternate route with vaccination against Encephalitozoonosis as it can cause blindness and even death if left untreated.
This is a new area of vaccination and I have no conclusive information on it at this point. Please research thoroughly if you are considering vaccinating your bunny against Encephalitozoonosis.
The most important thing to note with vaccinations is that they’re not 100% effective and may only protect for up to 12 months or more depending on the brand used by your vet.
It’s also worth keeping in mind that even though the risk may be low, there can still be side effects from vaccines:
If they appear healthy: If your rabbit has been vaccinated and stays well, you don’t need to worry about anything else! However, if my bun seems off-color they visit their normal vet immediately where possible.
If they appear unwell: If your bunny is unwell, visit an emergency vet immediately. Knowing what’s normal for your pet will help you to identify if they’re not acting like their normal selves which could be the first sign of illness. If I notice that Tink or Dom doesn’t act like his/her usual self, they go straight into emergency care even if it turns out to just be a 24-hour bug.
My bunnies are vaccinated against VHD / Calici annually in March and September respectively – earlier in case, my bunnies fall ill with anything unpleasant in summer (mosquitoes, etc.), but also late enough in spring or early in autumn so that they don’t need vaccination during hot weather for risk of overheating via the injection.
They are never vaccinated if their vet feels they might be sick, especially if their temperature is high. Vets will also not administer vaccinations to pregnant or nursing rabbits or those that have had recent surgery.
This information was written using my own knowledge of vaccination, consultation with rabbit-savvy vets and other rabbit owners online via advice Forums such as HouseRabbit.org, Facebook Groups, and Ferret Central. Please use this at your discretion!
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