A serious viral disease that causes many deaths in pet rabbits in Guernsey.
As we are all aware, Guernsey has more than its fair share of rabbits. The climatic conditions favour breeding, and with adequate food materials, most fields have rabbits in them.
Unfortunately for the rabbit, the perennial, population restrictor, the rabbit virus Myxomatosis cyclically occurs and causes widespread deaths in the rabbit population every year. The symptoms of Myxomatosis are acute damage to the eyes, lungs, mouth and nose and other organs causing blindness and an inability to eat. Death is slow and painful. The virus is passed between rabbits by the rabbit flea usually in the burrows. Some rabbits develop a natural immunity to the virus, but many will succumb.
Many pet rabbits are kept in gardens where there is access for wild rabbits. They are particularly vulnerable to infection. It is also possible for an owner who has been out walking in rural areas to carry rabbit fleas back on their clothing. It is the flea that carries and transmits Myxomatosis, not the wild rabbit. Unfortunately, there is no treatment for Myxomatosis.
In the face of the perpetual Myxomatosis threat, we would encourage rabbit owners to vaccinate their rabbits against the disease and to limit flea contact by using a suitable spot-on flea killer. Please telephone the Surgery on 723863 if you would like to make an appointment for your rabbit to be vaccinated and to discuss flea prevention.