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