News & Advice

Rabbit Calicivirus (RCD)

May 9, 2017 | Pet Health, Rabbit

A new strain of this virus is soon to be released by pest control companies in the South Island to control the rabbit problem in certain rural areas.
We are unsure as to whether virus will be released in the North island but given the time and movement of animals, it could pose a threat to our own pet rabbits in the Waikato.
Indications are that the current RCD vaccine will cover pet rabbits, so ensure your rabbits are up to speed with their vaccinations.
In brief RCD is:

  • Rabbit calicivirus disease (RCD), also known as haemorrhagic viral disease (RHVD), is a viral disease that infects and kills rabbits. It was illegally introduced into New Zealand in 1997.
  • RCD is highly infectious, 100% of infected animals will die.
  • Rabbits acquire this highly infectious virus by direct contact with other infected rabbits or through infected urine or faeces.
  • The incubation period is one to three days and research has shown that rabbits younger than eight weeks of age are usually resistant to the virus.
  • Signs seen in general are weight loss, difficulty breathing, shaking, and death within one to two days. Other signs may include a foamy or bloody discharge from the nose or anus, nervous signs or rapid death.

RCD Vaccine

We believe at this stage that the RCD vaccine will cover the new introduced strain. Rabbits can be vaccinated from six weeks of age onwards but will require boosters every three to four weeks until they are three months old. In order to maintain immunity, it is recommended that all vaccinated rabbits receive an annual booster. If you would like to make an appointment to vaccinate your rabbit, or would like more information on RCD, please contact your local Anexa FVC clinic.

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