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Attention all rabbit owners – are your rabbits up to date with their vaccination??

RHDV1-K5 information on the new Calici Virus strain about to be released in New Zealand

The release of RHDV1-V5 in New Zealand has been accepted. The proposed release regions are likely to be Canterbury, Otago and Marlborough, but it is expected that the virus will spread beyond these regions over time. A date for release of the virus has not yet been advised.

How to protect YOUR pet rabbits

1. Vaccination with Cylap® The vaccination that is registered for use against RHDV1 v321 (current Calici virus) in New Zealand rabbits is called Cylap®. A study conducted in Australia concludes that all the rabbits that were vaccinated with Cylap® survived the RHDV1-K5 infection (the new strain). Based on this study the indications are that Cylap® (off-label) will provide protection against K5.

The recommendation is to vaccinate:

• Vaccinate at 10-12 weeks

• Booster at 14-16 weeks (off-label)

• Booster 12 monthly (ongoing)

Ways to help control the spread of the disease:

1. Control insects (especially flies and fleas) as much as possible both indoors and outdoors. Flies are the main vector through which the virus is spread.

2. Remove uneaten food on a daily basis.

3. Keep your pet rabbit indoors where possible.

4. Rabbit-proof your backyard to prevent access by wild rabbits.

5. Regularly decontaminate equipment and materials (e.g. cages, hutches, bowls) with either 10% bleach or 10% sodium hydroxide. 10minutes contact times is required, then rinse off.

6. Limit contact with and handling of unfamiliar pet rabbits.

7. Use good hygiene measures (e.g. wash hands, shoes and clothing) after handling other people’s rabbits.

8. Avoid cutting grass and feeding it to your rabbits if there is the risk of contamination from wild rabbits.

If you have any further questions, please contact one of our veterinarians today.

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