Veterinarians have issued a warning to rabbit owners about an outbreak of myxomatosis that is killing rabbits in the south of England, particularly in the Canvey and Benfleet areas of Essex. The disease is spread by mosquitoes and is often fatal to rabbits. Vets are recommending vaccinations to prevent the disease.
Here are further details as published by echo-news.co.uk.
Symptoms include lumps around the head and genitals which can lead to acute conjunctivitis and possibly blindness.
Staff at Medivet in Furtherwick Road, Canvey , said the surgery had seen 40 cases of myxomatosis in the past three weeks alone, having not had a single case all year.
Amy Allgood, head nurse, said: “In the last few weeks the disease has spread so quickly, we are now seeing cases on a daily basis, which is really concerning.
“It is a truly horrible illness and unfortunately there is no real treatment. Usually rabbits succumb to the disease in as little as 48 hours. “Owners should clean cages regularly and treat them with flea sprays. “Most importantly, I would urge all pet owners to get their rabbits vaccinated as it is the only way to protect them.”
One concerned pet owner from Canvey, who did not wish to be named, said: “I lost two rabbits last week to myxomatosis and my friend lost three rabbits to the same illness.
“Speaking to my vets, they said they have never seen so many cases in the area. “Rabbit owners should be warned and get their animals vaccinated.”
Staff at Benfleet Veterinary Surgery, in Kents Hill Road, Benfleet, and Spinnakers Veterinary Surgery, in High Road, Benfleet, also confirmed they had seen an increase in the number of cases since the start of August.
Infected rabbits become listless, lose appetite and can develop a fever.
Sophie Brown, veterinarian at Spinnakers, said: “If a rabbit displays any symptoms of myxomatosis, they should contact a vet immediately as it is a medical emergency. “Rabbits are very susceptible to the disease and also viral haemorrhagic disease, so I would urge owners to get their pets immunised.”
To view the complete report online, please visit: http://www.echo-news.co.uk/news/9899807.Myxomatosis_outbreak_kills_dozens_of_rabbits_on_Canvey/
While myxomatosis is a very serious problem in some parts of the world, it is unknown in others. For example, immunization is not necessary in western Canada. To avoid the expense and potential hazards of unnecessary innoculations, rabbit owners should contact rabbit experts or bunny-savvy veterinarians in their area and ask whether there have been any recent cases of the disease locally.
Photo courtesy of subflux