Advice on Rabbit Vaccination & Health

bunny at the clinic

Part of being a responsible rabbit owner is getting your pet vaccinated. 

There are numerous important things that you will need to know when it comes to doing this. The more you learn about rabbits and vaccinations, the easier it will be to care for your fluffy friend.

When to Vaccinate Your Rabbit

You can get your rabbit vaccinated as early as five weeks old. It takes a total of three weeks for these animals to develop immunity. If you don’t know if your rabbit has been vaccinated yet, you should get this done. It is always better to err on the side of caution when it comes to matters of health with your pet.

Which Vaccinations do Rabbits Need?

Your rabbit should get the Myxomatosis-RHD1 vaccine once every year. They will also need to get the RHD2 vaccines every 6-12 months. You will need to wait a minimum of 2 weeks between vaccines, as they cannot all be administered at once.

1. Myxomatosis

Myxomatosis is an infectious virus that can be fatal in rabbits, which is why it is so important that you vaccinate yours against it. This virus kills lots of rabbits all over the world each year.

Some of the common signs of Myxomatosis include:

  • Fever
  • Lethargic behavior
  • Lack of appetite
  • swollen eyes (redness)
  • Conjunctivitis
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There is also Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease or RHD1. This particular viral strain is very easy for rabbits to catch, and it is extremely lethal. One of the worst things about this virus is that it causes death in rabbits very fast. By the time you notice the symptoms, it might already be too late.

Some of the symptoms of RHD1 include:

  • Lack of appetite
  • Fever
  • Lethargic behavior
  • Labored breathing
  • Seizures
  • Bloody mucus

The high mortality rate of this virus means that it is crucial for you to get your rabbit vaccinated against it.

3. RHD2

The second strain of Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease or RHD2 is also very dangerous to these animals. Separate vaccines are given for RHD1 and RHD2. The RH1 vaccine will not be effective in protecting your rabbit from the RHD1 strain of the virus.

Both strains of RHD are spread through direct contact, and they can live on surfaces for up to a few months. This is just one of the reasons why this virus is so serious and needs to be treated as such by rabbit owners.

What to Expect When Getting Your Rabbit Vaccinated

When you take your rabbit in to get vaccinated, the veterinarian will perform a thorough examination of them. They will weigh your rabbit and look them over from top to bottom. This will allow them to see if there are any problems with your furry friend that need to be addressed.

After the initial examination, the veterinarian will inject your rabbit with the vaccine. It is administered at the back of the neck and doesn’t cause the animal much discomfort. You may want to bring a treat to give your rabbit while it gets the shot.

Make sure that you take your rabbit to a veterinarian who specializes in exotic animals. You need to be certain that your furry friend is in good hands. Take as much time as necessary to research the vet options in your area before making a decision. This will allow you to choose the right professional to care for your pet.

red rabbit at the vet

Are There any Drawbacks to Getting My Rabbit Vaccinated?

It is a complete myth that vaccinations can have a negative impact on a rabbit’s health. The fact is that the vaccinations are necessary for keeping your bunny healthy and happy. 

There is a slight chance that they could develop mild myxomatosis symptoms, but it’s nothing to worry about. Your veterinarian will be able to treat these symptoms when they arise.

You won’t notice any changes in your rabbit’s personality or behavior after it receives its vaccinations. This is a common myth with no scientific basis whatsoever.

There are no rabbits that do not need to be vaccinated, so yours is no exception. Failing to get your rabbit vaccinated could result in death. As we mentioned above, some of the viruses that rabbits are vaccinated for can kill quickly.

Do Rabbit Vaccines Always Work?

There is no guarantee that the vaccines your rabbit receives will protect them, but there is a good chance they will help. It is always better to get your rabbit vaccinated than not. There is very little risk involved with getting the vaccinations, especially compared to the alternative.

Tips for Protecting Your Rabbit

You will find that a few simple tips can really help you with protecting your rabbit from a number of infections.

  • Make sure that you take your rabbit to the vet for booster shots when necessary.
  • Get all of the pets inside of your home tested for fleas, and treated if necessary.
  • Keep your rabbit’s cage as clean as possible to reduce the chances of infection.
  • Do not allow your rabbit to come into contact with wild rabbits.


  • You can get your rabbit vaccinated as early as five weeks old.
  • Once your rabbit gets vaccinated, it will take three weeks for them to build up immunity.
  • The Myxomatosis-RHD1 vaccine should be given once each year, and the RHD2 vaccine is given every six to twelve months.
  • Myxomatosis is a potentially lethal virus that can kill a rabbit very quickly.
  • The RHD1 and RHD2 viruses are also potentially lethal, so you will need to get your rabbit vaccinated against them.
  • While these vaccines are not guaranteed to work, it is better to get your rabbit vaccinated than not.
  • When you take your bunny in to get its vaccinations, the vet will first perform a thorough examination of them.
  • Make sure that you find a vet that is experienced with exotic animals.
  • The drawbacks of not getting your rabbit vaccinated are far greater than the alternative.
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