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Reducing the risk for rabbit owners

The two vaccine-preventable diseases of rabbits (myxomatosis and rabbit haemorrhagic disease (RHD)) are both present within the wild rabbit population and, although they can be spread by close contact, they can also be spread by biting insects such as fleas and mosquitoes:

  • Bring rabbits indoors, if possible, but if not then house them away from any possible contact with wild rabbits and in insect-proof housing (e.g. with insect screens or fine netting across the openings)
  • Regularly use a veterinary-approved flea product for rabbits (be sure to use products labelled for rabbits, as some flea products can be toxic to them)
  • Consider the use of fly repellents and other control measures outside the rabbits housing
  • Maintain excellent cage hygiene
  • Feed mainly good quality grass or hay as the main food, minimise obesity and gastrointestinal problems by feeding only a limited quantity of a complete pelleted food, avoiding or minimising treat items such as carrots, which contain a lot of sugar
  • Check your rabbit’s behaviour and physical condition twice a day during the warmer months to make sure soiling does not occur around your rabbit’s hindquarters
  • Consider the use of an appropriate product to prevent fly-strike if rabbits are housed outdoors

If you have any concerns regarding your rabbit’s health, please ring your veterinary practice. They will provide you with advice and guidance on how to manage concerns during this time.