From what and how to vaccinate rabbits?

Vaccination of rabbits is extremely important, especially if they are bred for meat and skin. Ornamental rabbits do not lag behind, subject to constant diseases due to their elite and not yet established variety. What vaccines do rabbits need and how to do them correctly?

Rabbit vaccination

What infections are rabbits vaccinated against?

There are four most dangerous diseases of rabbits that provoke serious complications in the health of animals and are fraught with death. These infections are characterized by the presence of a long incubation period, which leads to the ignorance of the owners about the disease of rabbits for a long time.

The benefit of vaccination lies in the ability to prevent the development of infection, since the disease, which occurs at first without symptoms, can spread to all individuals, including other animal species.

CVHD – viral hemorrhagic disease of rabbits

This pathology is diagnosed in individuals older than 1,5 months, characterized by the formation of hemorrhages in the internal organs. As a result, in rabbits, hemorrhages and stagnation begin in the body. The carriers of the virus are rodents, which are often present in the household of a private house or farm. Infection occurs through feces or common bedding.

The incubation period for the disease is only three days. In an infected individual, abundant secretion of mucus from the nose begins, appetite disappears, and body temperature rises. If a pregnant female becomes infected with the virus, she will miscarry.

It is impossible to save the animal in this case. Before death, the rabbit begins a muscle cramp.

The deceased animal is recommended to be sent to the laboratory for post-mortem examination. At autopsy, experts find swelling of all organs.


Blood-sucking insects cause the development of myxomatosis – a virus that affects the lower intestines, anus, genitals and mucous membranes of the head. The incubation period is 7 days, during which it is impossible to notice the development of pathology.

Symptoms include the following factors:

  • conjunctivitis develops – mucus begins to stand out from the eyes, gradually crusts form in the affected area;
  • tumors can be found on the body of a rabbit;
  • the animal is wheezing and coughing;
  • nodules form in the genital area and anus.

In the absence of proper treatment, the animal may die. It is better to prevent the development of the virus by vaccination than to endanger rabbits.


Although this disease is currently rare, it poses a danger not only to the animal, but also to humans. It is characterized by damage to the nervous system, which is previously manifested by increased secretion of mucus from the nose and saliva. A distinctive feature of the pathology is the aggressive behavior of the animal, which is replaced by excessive and previously unnoticed affection.

The rabies virus is incurable, the animal dies in 2 weeks. A similar situation is with the infection of a person who slowly dies over several months.

Intestinal parasites

Infection with intestinal parasites in rabbits (listeriosis, paratyphoid, salmonellosis, pasteurellosis) is manifested by characteristic symptoms in the form of fever, profuse lacrimation, severe chills and fever. The animal loses its appetite, it becomes lethargic.

Sluggish rabbit

For livestock breeders, such problems lead to a slow growth of the rabbit, lack of muscle mass and fluffy hair. Infection can occur from other animals or by eating rodent excrement.

The presence of intestinal parasites in the body of rabbits increases the risk of possible infection of people with them.

Rules for vaccination of rabbits

For rabbits, vaccinations are done according to certain rules:

  • it is necessary to vaccinate rabbits only when they reach 1,5 months of age, and if signs of diseases were found on the farm, the rabbit can be vaccinated upon reaching 3 weeks from birth;
  • the medicine should be administered only to healthy rabbits – as a result of vaccination, patients can only be harmed;
  • if a complex vaccine is used that protects against all diseases, it is given at 1,5 months of age, at 2 months and at six months (then every six months);
  • all monovaccines, except for the vaccine against myxomatosis, are performed according to the following scheme: the first – at 1,5 months from birth, the second – at six months and then observe the frequency every six months;
  • if a separate vaccination is used to protect rabbits against myxomatosis, it is done once a year.

You should also take into account the climate conditions in the region where rabbits are bred. In warm regions, adults are routinely vaccinated once every six months, and in cold regions, one vaccination per year will be enough.

Types of vaccines and their properties

There are several types of vaccines, among which there are groups of live or inactivated. Live ones give a faster result, but are poorly tolerated by animals. Inactivated ones are more reliable and contribute to long-term preservation of immunity.

In turn, inactivated vaccines are divided into monovaccines and complex varieties. The first types are designed to improve immunity and resist one pathology dangerous to health, complex ones – for everyone at once.


Monovaccines do not differ in properties from complex vaccinations, but are intended for the prevention of a specific disease. The following serums are distinguished:

  • against the development of myxomatosis, it is recommended to inject “Rabbivac-B”, “B-82”, “Lapimun Mix”, Myxoren (Czech drug);
  • against viral hemorrhagic disease: Rabbivak-V, Lapimun Gem;
  • against pasteurellosis (and infection with other parasites) – “Rabbiwak-R” or Pasorin-OL.

It is better to inject the first vaccine in a veterinary clinic or by inviting a veterinarian to the house, who will first assess the condition of the rabbits and determine whether they can inject the serum at the moment. Often weakened individuals are placed in a separate cage and endure additional time for the first vaccine.

Complex Serums

Complex vaccines are offered by manufacturers in two vials, which must first be mixed according to the instructions. The list of the most popular and effective includes the following serums:

  • Nobivak Muho-RHO;
  • “Rabbivak VB”;
  • “Lagimun Gemix” and others.

Rabbit vaccination

For further prevention, which is carried out every year or every six months, it is recommended to use the OKZ Vaccine produced in Ukraine. This serum allows you to protect the body not only from diseases, but also from numerous parasites.

How to prepare for vaccination?

It is mandatory to carry out preliminary preparation for the procedure. It includes the following activities:

  • Deworming is a standard procedure for getting rid of worms, since their presence will cancel the effect of the drug. The process is the oral administration of a standard anthelmintic drug 2 weeks prior to vaccination. You should not appeal to the absence of parasites in the body of an animal – their presence may go unnoticed, especially when it comes to adults.
  • The day before vaccination, it is required to measure the temperature of the rabbit by inserting a thermometer into the anus – it should be in the range from 38,5 to 39,5 degrees. It is also recommended to measure body temperature before the vaccine itself.
  • A week before vaccination, it is required to observe the animal – check the color of the eyes and discharge from the mucous parts of the head, compare the appetite, color of the feces and the amount of urine with the previous days, pay attention to the condition of the coat.

It is strictly forbidden to administer the vaccine to sick rabbits. Even if the owners have noticed slight deviations in behavior compared to previous days, it is better to postpone vaccination. 2-4 days of delay will cause less harm to the animal’s body than the introduction of serum during the development of the disease.

How to vaccinate a rabbit at home?

Since self-administration of serum is not difficult, the procedure can be performed at home or on a farm, which is often done by experienced breeders. As for dwarf breeds, it is recommended to vaccinate them only in a veterinary clinic. Everything is explained by the insufficient resistance of the organism of the presented variety to various drugs. These rabbits may develop side effects leading to death.

The procedure is carried out in the following sequence:

  1. Achieve the air temperature in the room no more than 28 degrees Celsius. If there is heat and a hot summer, then the vaccine is injected into the animal in the evening, at night. The absence of heat at night will make it easier for rabbits to tolerate vaccination.
  2. The purchased drug is carefully studied. In this case, it is required to study the dosage of the agent, calculated on an individual of a certain weight. It is necessary to observe the features of the introduction and warnings of manufacturers, which are described in detail in the instructions for use of the product.
  3. The required amount of the prepared solution is collected in a disposable syringe or in a special injector, which is used on farms for its intended purpose.
  4. Each vaccine is administered according to its absorption properties – under the skin, intradermally or intramuscularly. At the same time, the places recommended for vaccination are observed – in the thigh, auricle or at the withers.
  5. The rabbit must be held with force so that it does not break out and harm itself – it would be better if the farmers with helpers carry out the procedure. It is required to keep the place where the vaccine will be administered in an immobilized state.
  6. The needle is inserted under the skin in accordance with the instructions in the instructions. Non-compliance with the rules for introducing serum contributes to the development of stagnation, which will lead to the formation of a bump on the affected area and inflammation with an increase in body temperature in the animal. Experienced farmers inject vaccines in seconds. Beginners will have a little more difficulty – it is important not to injure the animal, so as not to provoke the development of infection at the site of injury.

Watch a video showing how to properly vaccinate a rabbit against myxomatosis:

In addition, precautions are taken regarding the storage of serum before use and after, if the diluted solution remains in large quantities. In this regard, the following caveats can be highlighted:

  • The vaccine is stored in the refrigerator at a temperature of +2 to +8 degrees. Do not freeze the drug or expose it to heat. Otherwise, the tool will become unsuitable for its intended use.
  • For vaccines produced in powder form, additionally purchase distilled water or a special diluent. It is necessary to use an additional solution in accordance with the instructions, since non-compliance with the recommendations will lead to the cancellation of the serum.
  • The shelf life of the finished solution – powder diluted with water – is limited to three hours. After this time, the vaccine should be discarded, since its use is not permissible.

There are other additional recommendations for the introduction of the vaccine into the skin of the animal, as well as the storage of finished products. You should learn more about this from the attached instructions – some drugs have distinctive characteristics and rules for using the product.

Possible complications after vaccination

The first vaccination or non-compliance with the recommendations for the use of the drug can lead to side effects, which include:

  • weakness;
  • shortness of breath;
  • increased salivation;
  • tearing.

These problems should arise immediately – literally in 15 minutes. This will indicate the distribution of serum in the body of the rabbit. In some individuals, side effects are more intense, in others – not so pronounced. Only in rare cases the animal does not respond to the introduction of the vaccine. Often this is noted in adults whose immunity is already accustomed to the components of the drugs.

If the side effects are too pronounced, an antihistamine should be given to the animal. In most cases, the reaction disappears after 20-30 minutes from the onset of manifestation. When using an antihistamine, an improvement in the condition of the animal will be noted after 10 minutes.

If the reaction to the vaccine does not disappear in a rabbit, then it must be urgently shown to the veterinarian. Often this indicates the development of an allergic reaction or an infection that has already occurred. As a result, the vaccine is rejected by the immune system, causing fever and increased tearing from the eyes and nose.

Vaccination of rabbits is a mandatory procedure that is practiced by all breeders who want to raise healthy animals for meat and fur. Also, vaccination should not be neglected for owners of domestic rabbit breeds – they are more vulnerable to infections, and vaccination will help prolong the life of the animal.

From what and how to vaccinate rabbits?
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Anna Evans


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