Protecting rabbits from Viral Haemorrhagic Disease: podcast from vet spot on Newstalk’s Pat Kenny Show

Rabbit owners often do not realise that without vaccination, their pets’ lives are at risk. To find out more about this and to listen to Pete answering listeners’ queries about pets, click on the play button below.

How to protect pet rabbits against Viral Haemorrhagic Disease

  • Biosecurity – Maintaining biosecurity involves avoiding introduction of animals into a group of pet rabbits and/or implementing strict isolation / quarantine of introductions until proven free of disease, and restricting access of rabbits to external sources of infection – See hygiene below.
  • Hygiene – Good hygiene is very important in reducing the risk of disease, so keep hutches/cages very clean. Ensure that vermin and wild birds can’t get into outdoor hutches or runs. You might need to use weld-mesh with smaller holes. Make sure there is nothing attract to wild mice and rats to your rabbits: sweep up any spilt food and bedding. Don’t pick green foodstuffs from areas where wild rabbits live, and try to stop wild rabbits from getting into your garden. If this is not feasible, make sure it is impossible for wild visitors to have nose-to-nose contact with your pet rabbit.
  • Vaccination – To reduce risk of exposure is not sufficient alone to keep out infection and prevent it from continuing to spread. An additional control tool is to ensure animals are immune through vaccination. A combined vaccine against haemorrhagic disease and myxomatosis is available. This product may only be prescribed by your veterinary practitioner from whom advice must be sought.
  • NB vaccination used to be just done against VHD type 1. It is important that rabbits should be given the newer vaccine which includes both Type 1 and Type 2. It is the Type 2 variant which seems to be most rampant in Ireland’s rabbit population in 2019 and the older vaccine did not cover this.

Questions from listeners about pets

As usual, listeners texted in their questions about pets. This is the selection that Pete answered this week.

  • My children are now teenagers and I am looking for the perfect puppy. I particularly like the idea of designer breeds. What would you recommend? (the actual question was much longer than this: listen to the podcast to hear it in full).
  • I am looking for a rescue kitten: what would you recommend?
  • My husband and I are hoping to have a baby in the next year. My doctor has told me that we will have to rehome my cat whom we love dearly as he could pass on Toxoplasmosis. I could not bring myself to do this. What would you recommend.
  • My dog spends all his time sniffing when out on walks. I end up tugging him all the way round. How can I get him to speed up?

Facebook Live Session

Here’s my Facebook Live session from Newstalk yesterday. Always a good chance to talk in a bit more detail about some of the issues that we don’t have time for during the live radio vet spot.

To hear the answers, click on the play button below.

Listen to the podcast:

Start Podcast

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Please note that I am unable to answer veterinary questions in comments. If you have questions or concerns about your pet's health it is always better to contact your vet.

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