A new strain of Calicivirus (RHDV2) has been found in New Zealand. If you have a pet rabbit, please contact your nearest Animates Vetcare clinic for advice around what you can do to help protect your rabbit from this new strain and if there are any additional vaccination requirements for your pet.
What can you do to help keep your rabbit safe?
The New Zealand Veterinary Association recommends the following measures to reduce the risk of a pet rabbit being in contact with a Calicivirus:
- Control insects (especially flies and fleas) as much as possible both indoors and outdoors
- Remove uneaten food on a daily basis so as not to attract flies
- Keep pet rabbits indoors where possible
- Rabbit-proof backyards to prevent access by wild rabbits
- Regularly clean rabbit hutches, cages and bowls etc with either 10% bleach or 10% sodium hydroxide - leave it on for 10 minutes, then rinse off
- Limit contact with and handling of unfamiliar pet rabbits. Take special precautions if attending any events where unfamiliar rabbits are present, such as petting zoos, rabbit shows and rescue centres
- Use good biosecurity measures (eg. wash hands, shoes and clothing) after handling other people’s rabbits
- Avoid cutting grass and feeding it to your rabbits if there is the risk of contamination from wild rabbits
- Isolate new rabbits for 7 days before introducing to other rabbits
- Rinse all leafy greens well before feeding them to rabbits. While feeding rabbits leafy greens remains a risk for introducing RHDV2, the benefits of feeding these is considered to outweigh the risks.