Do Rabbits Need Vaccines?

Rabbits are known to be fragile pets who can become dangerously ill due to certain diseases or infections. But, like any other house pet, they can also live a disease-free life if given the proper care. So, do rabbits need vaccines?

Well, rabbits also need vaccines. The vaccines help protect rabbits from deadly diseases and prevent them from becoming carriers of certain diseases. With a vaccine, your rabbit will get better immunity against fatal health conditions like RHD2, RHDV1, MYXOMATOSIS and other diseases.

Rules of vaccination in different countries

Different countries have different rules related to vaccines-

  • In European countries, rabbits are recommended to get shots for Myxomatosis and RHD. It’s because, in those countries, such contagious diseases are common and cause the death of multiple pet rabbits. Since these two diseases pass from wild rabbits to pet ones and are contagious, vaccines help in preventing disease outbreaks.
  • European rabbits need to get vaccines on a regular term. Pet bunnies of five weeks old get their first vaccine. After that, they get the best shot at the age of ten weeks. The adult rabbits are also recommended to get annual vaccines to remain protected from any possible disease.
  • In Australia and New Zealand, only one vaccine is available, that is for RHDV1. These two countries have reported a few outbreaks related to RHDV1 and RHDV2. So, the best way to protect your rabbits is to get them vaccinated with only one vaccine available.
  • In Asian countries, RHD vaccines are available and recommended. In these countries, the wild and pet rabbit species are interlinked.
  • In North America, especially the US, rabbits usually do not get recommended for vaccines. It is because these countries have different breeds of pet rabbits that are less prone to RHDV.

In general, rabbits are recommended for shots at the age of five weeks and ten weeks. Besides that rabbits also need booster doses per year to maintain their immunity against diseases. Your rabbit may get two or even more shots per vaccination seating. In many cases, the pet shops or rehabilitation centers vaccinate the rabbits before giving them to their new owners. If you are adopting or buying a pet rabbit, always ask for vaccine certification for confirmation.

Some symptoms of vaccination in rabbits

In rabbits, vaccination can cause a few side effects like any other mammals. These are-

  • Many rabbits get a mild fever with increased body temperature from 1% to 10% after vaccination. The fever goes away after one or two days. Your vet can also recommend some anti-fever medication after vaccination.
  • Temporary swelling at the injection site is also common. It usually goes away after 2 to 3 days. But, in some cases, teg swelling can stay for one or two weeks.

In case you observe any serious side effects like the rabbit has stopped eating, has a high fever or has visible discomfort, you need to consult the vet as soon as possible.

Final Words

Pet rabbits also require vaccination against contagious diseases. The vaccination norm is different in different countries. You need to abide by the vaccination rules of your country to ensure your rabbit gets timely shots.

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