What is Myxomatosis?
Myxomatosis is a caused by a virus that infects rabbits only. It is used for control of the feral rabbit population but can also affect pet rabbits. Infection is almost always fatal, and there is no vaccination available in Australia.
Infected rabbits developing swelling in the skin surrounding the eyes, on the ears and on the genitals. Eventually they will stop eating and then die from starvation.
How can I protect my rabbit?
Myxomatosis is spread by biting insects such as mosquitos and fleas. Mosquitoes are the usual vector that spreads the virus. They will travel long distances (sometimes many kilometres).
To protect your rabbit you need to try and keep them away from mosquitoes.
Here are some tips:
- Keep them indoors.
- Cover their hutch or outdoor run in flyscreen.
- Use insect repellants around their enclosure.
- Don't leave any pools of water around the house such as under pot plants as they will allow mosquitoes to breed.
While there is no vaccination for myxomatosis in Australia, there is one for calicivirus. All rabbits should be vaccinated yearly for calicivirus.