ARH Homebush veterinarian Dr Ellen Rasidi is urging pet rabbit owners to ensure vaccinations are up to date ahead of the release of a new strain of a deadly virus aimed at controlling the feral population.
RABBIT owners are reminded to vaccinate their pets prior to the national release of the new strain of Calicivirus to control the population of wild rabbits.
Led by Greater Sydney Local Land Services (LLS), baiting of feral rabbits using the RHDV1 K5, a Korean strain of the virus, will take place at sites including Parramatta and in South West Sydney through until the end of this month.
Dr Ellen Rasidi of the Avian and Exotics service at the Animal Referral Hospital at Homebush (ARH), said that while it was aimed at feral rabbits, the virus posed a serious threat to domestic rabbits.
"If your rabbit's last vaccination was more than six months ago, you should get another one now," she said.
"And if they've never been vaccinated, you should get it done now plus a booster shot in one month's time.
"I can't stress enough how crucial it is that pet rabbits are not only vaccinated but that owners consider using a spot-on treatment to reduce biting insects. In addition, try to avoid having your bunnies outside at dawn and dusk when these insects are most active, and ensure any outside hutches or runs are enclosed with mosquito-proof netting."
Signs of exposure to the virus include lethargy, being off food, sitting still/quietly and possibly bleeding from the nose, eyes, mouth or anus.
For more information, contact your local vet, go to lls.nsw.gov.au or visit ava.com.au/rabbit-calicivirus.