Myxomatosis Alert

(Sept 2016)
Unfortunately myxomatosis is back & one of our clients has just lost 2 of her pet rabbits to this nasty disease.
The classic symptoms are swollen eyelids, nares, bases of the ears and genitals, purulent secretions from the eyes and nares - the rabbit progressively has difficulty breathing and eating, and if left will have a horrible slow death.
Traditionally myxi was always thought only to be spread by biting insects (fleas and mosquitoes) but it's now known that secretions from an infected bunny are also a source of infection. The virus itself is quite temperature resistant so can survive in cold weather – this means myxi can occur at any time of year!
Vaccination is cornerstone in prevention but insect control must not be forgotten... Permethrin* based products eg Xenex spot on repel and kill biting insects & fleas - this has the advantage of preventing them from biting & spreading the disease. Environmental control is also helpful - for example using insecticides &/or physical barriers like mosquito netting.
Vaccination is required yearly & is the best form of prevention but even this is not 100%. However if a vaccinated rabbit does contract myxi it is usually less severe than the full blown form. Cases such as these are known as "atypical myxomatosis" and may well survive given appropriate treatment and nursing whereas the full blown form is nearly always fatal...

*permethrin products are toxic to cats – please follow instructions carefully
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