Vaccinations for Rabbits

Josie F. Turner
By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. Updated: February 22, 2018
Vaccinations for Rabbits

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Rabbits are susceptible to diseases just like any other pet, and that's why if you have a rabbit, or if you are thinking about getting one, you will need to be informed about the various vaccines available.

There are two types of vaccines, mandatory and recommended, and they can vary from one country to another. However, there are two vaccines that should not be ignored, especially if you live in Europe or if you own a specific type of breed.

Keep reading this AnimalWised article about vaccinations for rabbits to find out which ones are appropriate for your rabbit.

You may also be interested in: Vaccination Schedule for Cats


  1. Two essential vaccines
  2. A rabbit can be vaccinated from two months of age
  3. How often should you vaccinate a rabbit?
  4. Other vaccines for rabbits
  5. Other preventive measures for caring for rabbits

Two essential vaccines

The two most important vaccines for a pet rabbit are those against myxomatosis and viral hemorrhagic disease. Both diseases have a close to 100% mortality rate and are very contagious. They can even affect a pet rabbit living with humans and no other rabbits, although it is true there is an increased risk when lots of rabbits share the same space.

  • Myxomatosis decimated the rabbit population in the Spanish mountains during the 1970's, and this led to the survival of the Iberian Lynx becoming compromised. As of today, the epidemic is still out of control among wild rabbits, but thanks to the vaccine, the disease can be prevented in pet rabbits.
  • Viral hemorrhagic disease is a sudden and fatal disease. After spending from one to three days in incubation, it can suddenly manifest itself and causes death within some hours (between 12 and 36 hours). Regarding viral hemorrhagic disease in rabbits, necropsies carried out on the internal tissues of the animal have shown that due to the rapid development of the disease, there is sometimes not enough time to detect it.

The majority of virus strains belonging to the hemorrhagic disease occurring in rabbits can be prevented through vaccination, although France has advised about the existence of a resistant strain in its country.

Vaccinations for Rabbits - Two essential vaccines

A rabbit can be vaccinated from two months of age

Rabbits cannot not be vaccinated until they have reached two months of age and, according to Madrid College of Veterinarians' guidelines, it is recommended that both vaccines against myxomatosis and hemorrhagic fever are spaced out over two weeks, rather than having them done together.

By analogy with other mammals, if several vaccines are administered at the same time, young rabbits from very small breeds such as dwarf rabbits, can develop the diseases against which they are intended to be immunized.

Vaccinations for Rabbits - A rabbit can be vaccinated from two months of age

How often should you vaccinate a rabbit?

Once the rabbit has received two vaccines (hemorrhagic fever and myxomatosis) it should be re-vaccinated annually in the case of hemorrhagic virus, and at least every six months for myxomatosis disease, if it occurs in countries where there is still epidemic.

Although vaccinations can be carried out throughout the year, the ideal time to vaccinate rabbits against hemorrhagic disease and myxomatosis is springtime because during the summer, there is an increase in the number of cases of the diseases.

Vets specializing in exotic pets can provide the best advice in accordance with the country where each rabbit breed comes from, since some breeds are more susceptible to infection than others. In addition, they will indicate which of the two vaccines against myxomatosis is the most appropriate for each case.

In epidemic areas, for rabbits living in the countryside or those just visiting it to frolic, the frequency of vaccinations against myxomatosis can reach four vaccinations per year, because after three months the vaccine loses some of its effectiveness.

Vaccinations for Rabbits - How often should you vaccinate a rabbit?

Other vaccines for rabbits

When they cohabit many rabbits sharing a space are studied to ascertain the suitability of vaccinating them against bacterial respiratory diseases in the autumn. If present, these diseases are treatable with antibiotics.

There are different diseases which can affect a rabbit, so it is important to have an in-depth knowledge about them if you have several rabbits living together.

Vaccinations for Rabbits - Other vaccines for rabbits

Other preventive measures for caring for rabbits

In addition to vaccines, rabbits should be dewormed internally, and it is also necessary to ensure that they do not contract external parasites due to the hygiene standards of their living space. Humidity and lack of hygiene can be a source of fungi or even scabies.

Scabies may also develop in very old cages because the corners are always difficult to clean to perfection. Both fungal infections and scabies are treatable diseases, but prevention is always the best option for the welfare of your pet.

If you have a rabbit, or you are thinking of adopting one, do not hesitate to browse AnimalWised to find out more about feeding your rabbit or how long rabbits live for.

Vaccinations for Rabbits - Other preventive measures for caring for rabbits

This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to Vaccinations for Rabbits, we recommend you visit our Vaccination category.

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Vaccinations for Rabbits