COVID-19 Lockdown

We have heard from several worried owners whose rabbits’ vaccinations are due now or soon.

We are sorry you are in this unfortunate position and we do understand your very valid concerns

The BVA/RCVS have advised veterinary practices not to carry out routine procedures, but only to be available for emergency medicine. This is to conserve essential supplies, protect the health of veterinary staff, and avoid further spread of the disease.

Please, in the first instance, check your practice website, to see what protocols they are following, and what they recommend that you do. Contact them by phone to discuss your specific situation if it is not totally clear. Whilst vaccination is not usually an urgent procedure, if they are overdue, or have not had first vaccines yet, they will be at higher risk of developing diseases. Discuss your individual situation with your vet to find the best option.

In the meantime you need to give your rabbits the best protection you can from disease.

If your rabbits live indoors:

• If you have open windows, have mosquito screens over them because biting insects are a known vector of both myxomatosis and RVHD1 and 2
• Practice barrier care – when you come into the house from outside change your shoes, remove outer clothing and thoroughly wash hands before handling your rabbits or any of their food, toys, etc.
• Have a footbath at the door as well, and dip outdoor shoes in that. Use Anigene HLD4V or Virkon disinfectant in the footbath
• Thoroughly wash and dry any wild or garden forage before feeding to your rabbits

If your rabbits live outdoors:

• Buy mosquito nets to completely cover windows and doors in sheds and also runs. These can be bought online and large nets are available.
• Only handle your rabbits and their toys or food after you have thoroughly washed your hands
• If you have walk-in accommodation for your rabbits, you should change footwear at the door in case you have picked up any virus on your shoes while walking across the garden.
• Thoroughly wash and dry any wild or garden forage you have picked for them

While these measures aren’t as effective as vaccination, in the current crisis, they are all we have. Full advice on appropriate disinfectants and how to clean effectively can be found here https://rabbitwelfare.co.uk/rabbit-health/disinfectants/

Our very best wishes, we hope you and your rabbits stay well

Cleaning protocol

We have been asked about a cleaning protocol that would prevent rabbits from contracting Myxi or EC from their accommodation, for example in boarding or rescue establishments, and suggest the following:

Thoroughly clean the area to remove any scale or residue. Use Ark-Klens , which is a benzalkonium chloride disinfectant and as such it should be effective against EC and myxi, to routinely disinfect the housing. Periodically use Virkon (as an inorganic peroxygen compound) to kill any other viruses.

Note: Other benzalkonium chloride disinfectants and inorganic peroxygen compounds may be available, in addition to those named above.