How to Prevent Your Rabbit From Contracting Myxomatosis

Posted on: 18 September 2017

Myxomatosis is a serious viral disease that is extremely hard to treat. In fact, most rabbits unfortunate enough to contract myxomatosis will find the condition fatal. There is a vaccine, but it is not yet available in Australia.

With these facts in mind, you need to understand how best to entirely prevent your rabbit from coming into contact with the myxomatosis virus.

Use Proper Flea Treatment

Myxomatosis is nearly always contracted via parasites, particularly mosquitoes and fleas. If one of those parasites is infected and decides to bite your rabbit, the disease will probably be passed on. As such, the most vital step you can take is flea control. Make sure you regularly check your rabbit for any signs of fleas, even if they never leave the house, and consider using flea treatment provided by your vet. If you have cats or dogs, make sure they are likewise treated to prevent them passing fleas to your rabbit.

Use a Hutch and Netting for Outdoor Play

Many Australian rabbits are house rabbits, but even these may sometimes be let out into the garden to enjoy a bit of a frolic. You can keep them inside completely, but you can also take steps to protect them as they enjoy the great outdoors. Use a hutch, preferably over paving instead of grass, and place mosquito netting around it. For added protection, spray insect repellent around the perimeter of the hutch — just make sure it's safe for rabbits.

Prevent Drinking from Standing Water

If your rabbit ever goes outside and drinks from standing water, such as from a garden pond, they're putting themselves in danger of contracting myxomatosis. Standing water is one area where mosquitoes commonly like to breed. You can either keep an eye on your rabbit while they're out and about, place netting over the water to stop them drinking from it or pour a tiny amount of cooking oil into the water to form a film over the surface.

Prevent Wild Animals Entering Your Garden

Finally, try to make sure animals can't get into your garden. Most gardens are fenced, but you could have a gate that lets smaller animals hop inside whenever they feel like it, or spaces around the fence where they can squeeze through. These wild animals can bring those pesky fleas onto your property, and the next animal those fleas could be feeding on is your pet rabbit.

For additional advice, contact your vet.