As the owner of a pet bunny, it's your responsibility to take adequate veterinary care of your pet. Your bunny counts on you to keep him safe and healthy. The guidelines for vaccinating rabbits, like many other small pets that are considered exotic, vary depending on where you live and what health threats your pet may be facing. When in doubt about whether your bunny needs shots, talk to your veterinarian about your concerns and your options.
Millions of rabbits are kept as pets in the United States and around the globe. The vaccination requirements for rabbits vary greatly depending on where you live and what threats your pet bunny may face in terms of disease. While some countries do not widely recommend any vaccinations for pet rabbits, others have standard vaccination protocols in place to prevent the spread of disease and protect your pet.
Veterinarians in the United States don't vaccinate pet rabbits as a part of routine pet care, and there are no officially licensed or approved rabbit vaccines sold in the U.S. or Canada. Prevention is commonly used to protect rabbits from disease in the U.S., and most care involves keeping pet bunnies carefully separated from wild animals that may transmit diseases to them.
In the United Kingdom, pet rabbits receive two basic vaccinations as a matter of course. Vaccinations for myxomatosis and viral haemorrhagic disease are given to prevent these typically fatal diseases from spreading within the pet population. The myxomatosis vaccine should be given at 6 weeks of age with annual boosters in order to maintain protection and effectiveness. The VFD vaccine is given when your bunny is between 12 and 14 weeks old and also requires an annual booster.
In New Zealand, one vaccine is approved for use in rabbits. Rabbit calicivirus is a disease that was intentionally introduced to the wild rabbit population by farmers hoping to significantly reduce the number of rabbits that were damaging their crops. It's almost always fatal. If you give the rabbit calicivirus vaccine to your bunny before he is 12 weeks old than you will need to follow it up with a booster four weeks later. If you give the vaccine after he is 12 weeks old, then you only need to do annual boosters after the initial shot.
Jen Davis has been writing since 2004. She has served as a newspaper reporter and her freelance articles have appeared in magazines such as "Horses Incorporated," "The Paisley Pony" and "Alabama Living." Davis earned her Bachelor of Arts in communication with a concentration in journalism from Berry College in Rome, Ga.