Do Lionhead Rabbits Need Vaccines?

When owning a dog, it is completely normal to plan visits to the local veterinarian for regular check-ups and vaccines. But owning pets such as rabbits can often bring to many open questions regarding the necessity of visiting a veterinarian.

Do lionhead rabbits need vaccines at all, or is keeping their environment clean enough to protect them?

Rabbit vaccination depends a lot on the country you are located. Some countries determine that rabbit shots are a mandatory, other simply suggest doing so, while third countries often do not even have all the shots available.

Nevertheless, our suggestion is to always bring your pet for vaccinations whenever you are offered such possibilities. Vaccines are, just as those for humans, essential to prevent some common and uncurable diseases in rabbits.

Side effects are mild and extremely rare, so you are not really risking of bringing more damage than actual help to your pet.

Why do Rabbits Need to be Vaccinated?

Rabbits need to be vaccinated to being able of living long and happy lives. Vaccine boosts up their immune system by making them more resistant to basically all types of illnesses. Additionally, they prevent fatal rabbit diseases such as the Myxomatosis and the two RVHD viruses.

All three diseases are transmitted very easily from rabbit to rabbit, even if they do not get in contact with each other. That is why, if you are living in an area with a current virus outburst in the wild, vaccinating your rabbit is essential.

Thinking that your rabbit is safe because it lives indoors is dangerous and can lead to fatal outcomes sometimes. A simple mistake like not taking your shoes off after a walk in the park can transfer a serious virus to your pet.

Vaccination is therefore the safest way available to avoid such unwanted situations.

What Type of Vaccine do Lionhead Rabbits Need?

Lionhead rabbits need such vaccine which protects them from the three uncurable virus diseases: the Myxomatosis, the RVHD (Rabbit Virus Haemorrhagic Disease), and the RVHD2, which is essentially a mutation of the RVHD.

Such vaccine is mostly individual, one for the Myxomatosis and for the RVHD, and another for the RVHD2. However, there is a new vaccine available across some countries from last year which protects against all three viruses.

Vaccinating your pet is crucial in preventing such disease spreads, as there is no cure until now. So, let us share some important data about each of these viruses, in order to understand better how dangerous they can be.

1. Myxomatosis

This is an extremely deadly virus which causes high fever and swelling around the eyes and nose, which can ultimately make it impossible for them to eat or drink. Or even see.

Myxomatosis is widely spread among British wild rabbits, and it can be transferred mostly through insect bites but also through contaminated objects.

A rabbit which gets such incurable virus will either die within the first two weeks or will often have to be euthanized. Rabbits continue being infectious for other rabbits even after passing away.

2. Rabbit Viral Hemorrhagic Disease

This too causes extremely high fever to affected rabbits, but also internal bleeding and liver failure. Good news is that this particular virus does not seem to affect rabbits younger than 6 weeks, but it does end with fatal consequences for most adults.

The RVHD is also frequent mostly among British wild rabbits, and it gets easily transferred through direct contact but also various surfaces. This virus is much more contagious when compared to the Myxomatosis and it can stay alive on most materials for a long time.

3. Rabbit Viral Hemorrhagic Disease II

Such virus is a recent mutation of the RVHD, and it was first detected in France in 2010. RVHD2 is proven to attack both adult rabbits and young bunnies, but it does have some lower mortality rates if compared to the original version.

This disease is also spread by direct contact or through infected surfaces, although there have been some cases of spreads carried by insects, too. When affected with this particular virus, rabbits do not seem to show any symptoms other than suddenly dying.

To find more detailed information on the illnesses but also on the vaccines, you may want to visit the article which we used as a reference.

At What Age Should a Lionhead Rabbit be Vaccinated?

The right age at what a lionhead rabbit should be vaccinated depends on the vaccine itself. The combined vaccine which protects from Myxomatosis and RVHD can be injected from 5 weeks of age.

Same goes for the newest vaccine which protects from all three viruses. When it comes to vaccination against RVHD2, however, the best time to do it is from 7 weeks of age.

Please always consult your veterinarian first and do not forget mentioning if your pet has already been vaccinated. Some vaccines cannot be mixed, so it is crucially important to always hand out the complete information.

How Often do Lionhead Rabbits Need to be Vaccinated?

Lionhead rabbits need to be vaccinated just once, either from 5 or 7 weeks of age, depending on the vaccine type.

However, they should also get a vaccine booster each year afterwards, in order for the vaccine to be “renewed” and therefore extended. The boosters should be received every year for the rest of their life.

The best way to be ahead on the vaccination plan is bringing your pet to the veterinarian around the same date each year. Some owners like vaccinating their rabbit pets around springtime, as the Myxomatosis is at its peak during summer and early autumn.

However, vaccines are totally proven to offer the same level of protection all year round, so simply choosing a date that suits you most is absolutely fine.

Also, it is crucially important to only allow vaccination when your rabbit is completely healthy. Your veterinarian will always do a brief general check-up before injecting the vaccine, but owners keeping an eye on the behavior of their pet days before the vet appointment is just as important.

And this can ultimately either save your pet’s life or simply avoid vaccine side effects.

How Much Does It Cost to Vaccinate a Lionhead Rabbit?

The costs to vaccinate a lionhead rabbit vary a lot from country to country, but also from town to town. Some general observations, however, say that single vaccines go from $20 to $30 across the USA.

In the UK, where rabbit vaccines are more frequent, they cost anywhere from £15 to £30, and such rates are just a bit lower across most European Countries. In Australia, you may get a full vaccine for your rabbit at $70 or $90.

Even if these costs are not that high and should be affordable for any pet owner who is able to afford other basic requirements for his or her pet, it seems they may become even lower once the latest vaccine becomes more widely spread.

With being able of covering all three viruses, such vaccine will only require a single shot and will therefore bring less expenses.

Wrapping Up

Vaccinations are the best way in which modern medicine protects us from dangerous illnesses for which we have no effective cure. And the same is valid for pets.

Whether it is a dog which spends most of the time outside or a cute bunny which never gets out of the house, vaccinating your pet is essential. It may not be mandatory or inflicted by your local laws, but it is common sense that should guide us here after all.

And who knows, you may even turn out to save the life of your pet. Even if it does manage to catch one of these deadly viruses at some point, health consequences can be as banal as a cough if they are vaccinated.

avatar Jane
Jane is an experienced animal care specialist with a focus on rodents and small mammals, with over 10 years of experience in the pet industry. Her articles provide practical guidance on choosing the right pet and managing common health issues. Jane is an advocate for animal welfare and supports organizations dedicated to protecting wildlife. read more...

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *