Viral Haemorrhagic Disease
The Practice would like to inform you that in recent days we have had cause to
investigate the unexplained deaths of two rabbits in the Hadleigh area. Both
came from the same household and were amongst a group of 6 rabbits in total.
A short period of lethargy, reduced appetite, then a very short period of
“floppy rabbit” like presentation lead to their deaths. The final result of post mortem
examination is pending but at this stage it appears very likely that the cause of death
was viral haemorrhagic disease (VHD), strain 2. Both rabbits were vaccinated
against VHD strain 1.
The disease course in each of the cases seen was more indicative of VHD2 with
clinical signs being vague including anorexia, dullness and lethargy for 1–2 days,
followed by the death of both rabbits. There was no evidence of external blood loss
in either case.
There is a vaccine available against VHD2 and, given the source of the virus in both
cases, we are strongly advising vaccination. This is a single dose injected
subcutaneously on an annual basis, given to a rabbit greater than 10 weeks of age.
More information is available on the attached information sheet. At this stage we
have been using VHD2 vaccine – Filavac VHD K C+V on an annual basis.
Protection after vaccination takes 7 days to be established.
If you have any further questions regarding this condition please do not hesitate to