New rabbit virus confirmed in Bedford

MBTC rabbit virus
MBTC rabbit virus

Pet owners have been warned about a new rabbit virus after a case was confirmed in Bedford.

The disease, affecting rabbits across the country, is Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease variant 2 (RVHD-2) which is fatal in approximately 25 per cent of rabbits that contract it. Rabbits may die suddenly without any symptoms.

This month, a four-month-old rabbit that died unexpectedly at home was tested for the new virus and has become the first confirmed case of RVHD-2 in the Bedford area.

The standard UK rabbit vaccination does not protect against RVHD-2 (it covers myxomatosis and RVHD-1). A separate RVHD-2 vaccine has recently been approved for use in the UK.

Katharine Nelson, senior vet at Acorn House Veterinary Hospital, said: “Vets, pet shops and rabbit owners need to be aware that this new virus is present in the Bedford area. Both indoor and outdoor rabbits are at risk. We recommend that rabbit owners in Bedford contact their local veterinary surgery and make arrangements for their pets to receive the new vaccine.”