The House Rabbit Society of Australia Inc

Snowy with Myxomatosis infection

Canning Community Newspaper
January 18-24
Western Australia

Bad month for myxomatosis

Dear Dr Croxford,

My neighbour's rabbit died of Myxomatosis. I have rabbits too. How do I prevent them being infected? What is Myxomatosis? How do they get it? What are the first signs? Is there a cure or vaccine?

Dear Sally,

December has just gone and this month has been very bad for myxomatosis. We have had two or three cases a day. There is no cure and the Government does not permit vaccination. Most cases have to be put down. Myxomatosis is a disease of wild and domestic rabbits. The virus was introduced to Australia in an attempt to control the rabbit plagues we had in the past.

The disease is caused by several strains of myxoma pox virus. Transmission is usually by biting insects, especially mosquitoes, flies, mites and fleas.

The first sign after infection with the Californian strain of virus is a sleepy-eyed rabbit, the eyes run, the eyelids are puffy, and the rabbit is dull and feverish.

If the rabbit survives the first stage, in the next stage the puffy redness goes to the ears, face, anus and genitals.

The very few that survive are usually wild rabbits, whose ancestors have been exposed to the virus, that someone is keeping as pets.

These survivors develop spots or splodges of bleeding under the skin. They may appear to get a little better but are very weak and often die from secondary bacterial infections.

The only prevention is to keep it all rabbits inside at night or in mosquito and fly-proof hutches during the hours of mosquito activity.


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