In some ways lockdown has been a special time for me as a vet.
Many people have had time to reflect, and decided that this is a great time to acquire a new
pet. I have been seeing lots of lovely kittens, puppies and baby rabbits joining local
households. This has brought happiness and cuddles to our team, as well as their new
Usually I meet a young pet for the first time whilst discussing immunity and vaccines.
Rabbit vaccination has changed a great deal even during the course of my time as a vet. I
can still recall the excitement generated when the first ever rabbit vaccine, against
myxomatosis, became available.
We felt quite avant garde being able to offer such a new solution to a problem that used to
wipe out whole groups of pet bunnies within days. Sadly, I still notice wild rabbits by the
roadside which are clearly infected. They are easy to spot, with their swollen eyelids and
Back then, the vaccine came in a bottle of 10 doses. It had no preservative, so had to be
discarded within a few hours of first use. We would hold ‘rabbit parties’ one Saturday
morning each month, inviting up to ten buns for appointments to share the vial of vaccine.
This allowed us to keep the price down.
Then along came viral haemorrhagic disease (VHD), another killer. A few years later we
were celebrating the arrival of its vaccine. Then in 2013 a new variant called VHD2 spread to
the UK from France. A vaccine soon followed, but it was a frustration to me that we could
only administer this as a separate dose on different days, meaning two visits for each pet.
But now, we can celebrate the triumph of science again.
MSD Animal Health have licensed a new rabbit vaccine that can protect pet rabbits from all 3
fatal conditions in one dose. We are so pleased. It’s got to be better for bunnies, who
generally prefer a stress-free lifestyle, and minimal visits to the vets.
If your rabbit is not yet protected, give us a call on 01444 456886 to book them in.