The Victorian Government is reminding pet owners to vaccinate their pet rabbits before the release of calicivirus on March 1 of this year.
The current calicivirus vaccine is expected to provide good protection for pet rabbits from all strains of the RHDV1 virus including RHDV1 K5.
Victoria’s Acting Chief Veterinary Officer Dr Cameron Bell said pet owners should consult their local vet to help prevent infection from the virus.
In a statement released by the Victorian Government, it is advised pet rabbit owners minimise risk by:
- Preventing direct and indirect contact between domestic/pet and pest rabbits;
- Avoiding cutting grass where pest rabbits may be foraging and feeding it to pet rabbits;
- Protecting pet rabbits from insects to reduce the risks of introducing RHDV1 K5, this could include insect-proofing the hutch and keeping pet rabbits indoors; and
- Washing their hands with warm soapy water between handling rabbits.
Rabbits are Australia’s most destructive agricultural pest animal, costing $200 million in lost agricultural production every year, with a further $6 million expended on rabbit control measures.