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Why can’t I vaccinate my rabbit against Myxomatosis?

The myxoma virus which causes myxomatosis is now widespread across the Australian environment which places domestic rabbits at risk of infection. There are two vaccinations against myxomatosis, but vaccination against myxomatosis is not permitted in Australia, so limiting exposure is the best preventative measure.

  • Put mosquito netting around your rabbit’s hutch even if indoors (this will help to prevent flystrike as well).
  • If your rabbits are allowed to exercise outside, avoid letting them out in the early morning or late afternoon when mosquitoes are more numerous.
  • Please talk to your veterinarian about flea prevention for rabbits. You can use Revolution® (Selamectin) or Advantage® (Imidocloprid) for flea prevention, but you must check first with your veterinarian for dosages. Do not use Frontline® (Fipronil) as this is often fatal to rabbits.

The Australian Government maintains that, because the myxomatosis vaccines are modified live-virus vaccinations (meaning they contain weakened forms of the virus), the weakened viruses in the vaccine could spread from domestic rabbits to the pest rabbit population, possibly immunising them against myxomatosis. 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.

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Updated on March 7, 2023
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