Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search


Advice for pet rabbit owners over new strain of calicivirus

Advice for pet rabbit owners after a new strain of calicivirus found

The Ministry of Primary Industry’s announcement that a new strain of rabbit calicivirus (RHDV2) has been detected in a wild rabbit in Marlborough is worrying for pet rabbit owners.

While this strain has only been detected in one location, it is possible that RHDV2 is more widespread in New Zealand, but hasn’t yet been found in other regions. The potential to cause disease varies widely amongst RHDV2 strains. This newly reported strain of RHDV2 is not the same as the one present in Australia. It is not yet known what threat is poses to rabbit health, but it is possible that the virus could spread rapidly throughout New Zealand.

RHDV2 viruses can infect rabbits from 3-4 weeks of age and some strains have high death rates following infection. Rabbits infected with a RHDV2 strain that causes illness are often off their food and reluctant to move around for 3-5 days before dying. Sick rabbits are highly infectious to other rabbits.

The New Zealand Veterinary Association welcomes the support from MPI in urgently importing a registered vaccine, Filavac, for pet rabbits to provide protection from RHDV2. Until Filavac is available, rabbit owners are encouraged to discuss with their veterinarian the benefits of using a modified protocol of the current rabbit vaccine (Cylap RCD). It is thought that Cylap RCD can provide a degree of cross protection and may be useful if you believe your rabbit is at risk, and are not able to access the Filavac. The modified Cylap protocol involves beginning vaccinations at 4 weeks of age, and receiving boosters every 6 months.

In addition to vaccination, these measures will also reduce the risk of a pet rabbit contracting a calicivirus:

Control insects (especially flies and fleas) as much as possible both indoors and outdoors. Flies are the main vector through which the virus is spread.

Remove uneaten food on a daily basis so as not to attract flies.

Keep your pet rabbit indoors where possible.

Rabbit-proof your backyard to prevent access by wild rabbits.

Regularly decontaminate equipment and materials (e.g. cages, hutches, bowls) with either 10% bleach or 10% sodium hydroxide.

Limit contact with and handling of unfamiliar pet rabbits. Avoid rabbit shows or other events where rabbits may be present.

Use good biosecurity measures (e.g. wash hands, shoes and clothing) after handling other people’s rabbits.

Avoid cutting grass and feeding it to your rabbits if there is the risk of contamination from wild rabbits.

Isolate new rabbits for 7 days before introducing to other rabbits.

Rinse all leafy greens well before feeding them to rabbits. While feeding rabbits leafy greens remains a risk for introducing RHDV2, the benefits of feeding these is considered to outweigh the risks.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Budget 2018: "Better Lives For Children"

Budget 2018 builds a better future for New Zealand children, with major investments in health, education, housing and justice to improve thousands of children’s lives, says Prime Minister and Minister for Child Poverty Reduction Jacinda Ardern. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Budget 2018

To put it mildly, Budget 2018 has not been an outbreak of wild-eyed, tax and spend liberalism. “Unfortunately not,” says CTU economist Bill Rosenberg agrees laconically. “But what you're seeing and within the constraints [the government] have set themselves, they’ve done quite a good job of beginning to eat away at the deficits that have built up over the years. Not only the social deficits, but also in areas like economic development, the provinces, bio-security and so on.” More>>

Budget 2018 - Scoop Full Coverage


Corrections Officers: 600 New Prison Beds Not Enough

Finance Minister Grant Robertson announced 600 new prison beds to be built in modular units by the end of next year, but would not say whether the extension of Waikeria Prison would go ahead. More>>


Peters Returns: Visit Reinforces New Zealand-Japan Relationship

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters has departed Tokyo following a productive three-day visit to Japan. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Regressive Taxes

The headlines would have you believe that inflation is safely under control, but a Statistics NZ press release indicates that isn’t the reality being experienced by the poor, given how the steeply rising costs of smoking, petrol, rent etc are falling disproportionately on low to middle income earners. More>>


Overlapping Treaty Claims: ‘You Are Taking Us To War’

Treaty Negotiations Minister Andrew Little was speaking about the treaty process and the importance of communication when he was challenged by a kaumatua from Tauranga Moana. More>>


Workplace Harrassment: Rights Body's Policy Inadequate

"Judge Coral Shaw’s report confirms what our members at the HRC have told us: that the workplace culture at the HRC needs to be addressed," PSA National Secretary Glenn Barclay says. More>>


Charter Schools: Transition Begins

As the next step in the transition of charter schools into the state school system, the formal process to end charter school contracts is starting today, Education Minister Chris Hipkins says. More>>


Labour & Labour: 'Not All Businesses Will Survive' Employment Changes

Q+A Transcript: Workplace Relations Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says New Zealand needs a high-skill, high-wage economy and accepts that some businesses will not survive some of its policy changes. More>>





Featured InfoPages