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Why can't I vaccinate my rabbit against Myxomatosis?

Article ID: 260
Last updated: 03 Feb, 2016
Revision: 4
Views: 33563

Myxoma virus is now widespread across the Australian environment which places domestic rabbits at risk of infection. There are two vaccinations against myxomatosis, but these are not permitted to be used in Australia.

The government argues that this is because the vaccines are ‘live-virus’ vaccinations, meaning they contain weakened forms of the virus; either the Shope’s fibroma virus or a cell-culture derived strain.  Their concern regarding these vaccines is that the weakened viruses in the vaccine could spread from domestic rabbits to the pest rabbit population, immunising them against myxomatosis.  Since the myxoma virus is still used to control wild rabbit populations in Australia (albeit to a lesser extent than other methods), the vaccine has not been approved for commercial use here until further research has shown that the risk of transmission of the weakened virus between animals doesn’t occur.

RSPCA Australia has repeatedly called for a review of available myxoma virus vaccines and a scientific assessment of their likely impacts in the Australian setting. We would like to see action taken to ensure that all domestic rabbits can be protected against contracting myxomatosis.

Owners are reminded to vaccinate their rabbits against rabbit haemorrhagic disease (RHD), especially as a new strain known as RHDV2 which has been reported as causing deaths of domestic rabbits. The current RHD vaccine may offer only limited protection against this strain but additional precautions can be taken to help minimise risks.

Further information on myxomatosis is available at this link: http://www.agriculture.gov.au/animal/health/myxomatosis-vaccine

This website provides general information which must not be relied upon or regarded as a substitute for specific professional advice, including veterinary advice. We make no warranties that the website is accurate or suitable for a person's unique circumstances and provide the website on the basis that all persons accessing the website responsibly assess the relevance and accuracy of its content.
Also read
document I just got a new rabbit. Can you give me some general advice on its care?
document What sorts of health problems do rabbits suffer from?
document What is myxomatosis and how do I protect my rabbit from it?
document What is rabbit calicivirus and how do I protect my rabbit from rabbit haemorrhagic disease?
document What do I need to know before getting a rabbit?

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