Friday, 1 July 2016

RVHD2 - Filavac vaccine - FAQ

FAQs Do existing RHD1 vaccines work? Because the mortality rate is lower with RHD2, any test using a small number of rabbits could easily show protection just because none of them were going to die anyway. There is some anecdotal evidence that RHD1 vaccines have some short term effect, but nothing peer reviewed. How much will the vaccine cost? This depends on vial sizes ordered, the number of rabbits one has, the specific vaccine used, and the pricing structure of your veterinary practice. Please discuss this with your veterinary practice. How will you get it from your vet? NVS have asked us to slow things down as they are getting overwhelmed. Please only go through your vets, and ask them to look out for our updates before calling NVS, to avoid overwhelming them still further. Your vets will need their own license, which, now all the info is on the VMD site and is approved, should be straightforward to do. However, this is not as simple as writing a prescription, and your vet may not see enough rabbits for this to be a practical option for them. What dose regime is suggested? Please remember that the use of these products is both off licence (although under the Cascade), and subject to the VMD’s directions on importation of immunological products. As a result, although the manufacturers of the Filavac product suggest that vaccination can be at the same time as the Nobivac RHD-Myxo, as long as it is not in the same site or the same syringe, standard advice with immunological products not licensed for simultaneous administration is to space them out by at least 2 weeks. The manufacturers advice is to administer a single dose of the vaccine, followed by annual boosters in low risk situations, and 6 monthly in the case of breeding does at high risk. In the UK, I would suggest that high risk situations include rescue centres and breeders, unless they have a strict quarantine policy, and those rabbits which have greater contact with wild rabbits, as well as any geographical location where cases have been reported recently.

Friday, 27 May 2016

RVHD2 vaccine shortly available in the UK

We are pleased to announce that after long discussions with Filavie, a vaccine manufacturer in France, and NVS, a Veterinary Wholesalers in the UK, we will very shortly have, for sale in the UK, a vaccine against RHD2. This also covers RHD1. The full order should be in stock from Mid June, with relatively small amounts available before then. Please ask your vet to contact NVS to discuss exact anticipated stock arrival dates and to assist them with some idea of expected demand. You still need to vaccinate your rabbits with Nobivac as previously, please discuss this with your vet. We are enormously grateful to our wonderful Vet Dr Richard Saunders for doing the necessary research and negotiation with the manufactuer, then arranging the necessary import paperwork , and then liasing with NVS in order for them to be able to supply it. On behalf of Bunnies everywhere we thank you Richard!

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Rabbits do not need to be fully reclined to be in a trance

Rabbits that have been frequently placed in a TI position learn to anticipate when this will happen, and become stressed more quickly and enter a TI state more quickly. Rabbits do not have to be have to be fully reclined to be in a TI/Trance. Gallup, G.G. (1974) Animal hypnosis: factual status of a fictional concept. Psychological Bulletin, 81, 836-853 McBride, A, (2015) Animals in trances: peace of mind or panic. Rabbiting On, Winter 2015 issue, 10-12 This article is from our current issue of Rabbiting On: If you love rabbits and want to receive our excellent magazine every quarter sign up here (UK):

Saturday, 30 January 2016

RHVD2 update

RE RVHD2 Hi All. To avoid confusion between vets and owners, this same message is going out to all our vet and owner members so that everyone will have the same information available. RVHD2 IS present in the UK, and has been for a couple of years , as evidenced by the Westcott and Choudhury paper ( WESTCOTT D. G., CHOUDHURY B. (2015) Rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus 2-like variant in Great Britain. Veterinary Record 176, 74 doi:10.1136/vr.102830). Since that paper came out, we have had a number of reports, from Dorset to East Anglia, of laboratory confirmed RVHD2. We have also had a large number of unconfirmed reports, based on a range of findings, from clinical suspicion, to detailed post mortems. We established an import process for "Cunivak RHD", and, unfortunately have exhausted the company's stocks. We are therefore exploring other vaccine options. To bring everyone up to speed on the situation: 1. Is the current Nobivac Myxo-RHD effective against RVHD2? No, unfortunately not, according to MSD, the company making it. However, it is vital to still continue to vaccinate rabbits against Myxomatosis, the main preventable fatal viral disease of rabbits, and RVHD1, which is still the main strain found in the UK, with Nobivac Myxo-RHD. 2. What exactly is the supply situation with Cunivak RHD? To the best of our knowledge, this is completely out of stock, and a date for new supplies is still not known. We await more information on this from the company. When we have more information on this, or the next point, we will send out another message to everyone on our list. 3. Are other vaccines available? We are revisiting the other vaccines that we identified earlier, in order to determine if another option is available. We initially selected Cunivak as it was available in single doses, to avoid splitting multidose vials with short shelf lives once open, between rabbits, as this could have biosecurity concerns if vaccinating a large number of rabbits in a short space of time. This process is likely to take some time, but once we know more, we will let people know the details. One thing that would REALLY help us is if vets and owners can report any cases of RVHD. If you know of any, please could you contact us on with the following info: approximate geographical location; number of rabbits affected and their ages; how diagnosed: eg suspected, gross post mortem, histopathology, or specific viral test, in which case was this RVHD1 or RVHD2. We would recommend that vets reserve a second dose of vaccine for those rabbits which have already received a first dose. If you are a vet who has already vaccinated a rabbit with a first dose, and has insufficient vaccine for that animal's second dose, please contact me via to discuss the options.

Thursday, 21 January 2016

New vaccine update

We have heard from a lot of vets in the past week who wanted to know how to order the new vaccine.This is going to mean that there should be a reasonable spread across the country of vets who are stocking it. However, many vets will simply not see enough rabbits to make it a commercially viable decision to order it in. If your vet does not stock it it's worth phoning around to find out who has it. Please make sure that if you do this, both vets in question know that your rabbit is under the care of 2 separate vets. This is important for good communication regarding any health issues, and in terms of timing the VHD2 vaccines appropriately with their existing Nobivac Myxo-RHD.

Thursday, 14 January 2016

New vaccine imported for deadly rabbit disease

Dr Richard Saunders BSc (Hons) BVSc MSB CBiol DZooMed (Mammalian) MRCVS Referral Vet, Zoo and Exotic Species, has responded to growing concerns about a new variant of the deadly disease rabbit VHD (RVHD2) and made it possible for UK vets to import a new vaccine to protect their pet rabbits. Richard, The Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund's (RWAF) Specialist Veterinary Adviser warns that the current 'combi' vaccine available in the UK does not offer protection against the new RVHD strain, known as RVHD2, and that owners will need to add this second vaccine called 'Cunivak VHD' to their annual vaccination schedule to give their rabbits full protection against the 2 deadly diseases. Over the past year there has been an increasing concern regarding RVHD2 becoming a cause of deaths in several outbreaks in the UK. As a result, Richard, on behalf of the RWAF, with valuable assistance from the APLA, Ann Pocknell (Finn Pathologists), Mark Stidworthy and Daniela Denk (IZVG) and Tariq Abou-Zahr (Great Western Referrals) have been putting together a disease risk assessment. The RWAF has now successfully established an SIC (Special Import Certificate) for a suitable EU member state vaccine, Cunivak RHD, and placed an order for a small number of vaccines to establish an ordering system into the UK. If vets require any further information, they should contact the RWAF at for our information sheet. The RWAF urges all rabbit owners to discuss this new vaccine with their own vet. The RWAF holds a list of rabbit savvy vets, if you would like to know of rabbit savvy vets in your area please contact us on Any vet practices who would like to apply to be included can also contact us via the same e-mail address, or visit our website

Sunday, 13 September 2015

15 emergency reasons to see a vet NOW!

15 things you need to see a rabbit savvy vet about NOW 1 -Not moving around / sitting hunched up 2 – Change of food preference or loss of appetite 3 – Smaller, fewer or no poos 4 – Broken bones / legs 5 - Collapse 6 – Mouth breathing 7 – Runny eyes/ nose/coughing/sneezing/ wheezing 8 - Flystrike 9 – Blood in urine 10 – Dribbling / wet fur around mouth 11 – Haemorrhage 12 – Fitting 13 – Screaming 14 – Diarrhoea 15 – Significant wounds