The RHD vaccine, FILAVAC, will be arriving in Singapore very soon. As the vets are getting ready to roll them out, we hope to share some important information for owners to know before vaccinating their rabbits.
1️⃣ The vaccine is subcutaneous (under the skin) and will last 12 months. Re-vaccination is require once a year. It can only be performed by a vet.
2️⃣ The vaccine can be given to a rabbit as young as 10 weeks old. It is advised to get your rabbit checked to ensure it is healthy prior to vaccination.
3️⃣ The onset of immunity is about one week after vaccination. The rabbit might experience a spike in body temperature and/or develop a nodule at the vaccination site. These are normal and not life-threatening.
4️⃣ Filavac is known as a killed vaccine which means it is produced by infecting rabbits and then euthanizing them to collect the virus from their livers and spleens.
5️⃣ The vaccine is not a cure and does not guarantee 100% efficacious. It is meant to reduce mortality rate in case the rabbit is infected with RHDV-1 or RHDV-2.
6️⃣ You should continue to practice biosecurity precautions even if your rabbit is vaccinated. This includes:
– Housing your rabbits indoors and not bringing them to public places unnecessarily
– Changing out clothes and washing hands thoroughly after handling other rabbits.
– Not letting your rabbits interact with unfamiliar rabbits from different households.
– Using effective disinfectants in the event of an exposure.
– Not feeding hay, pellets, herbs or plants from unknown sources.
– Applying flea treatment (I.e. revolution) at least once every 6 months and minimizing insects in your rabbit’s space.
– Quarantining new rabbits for at least 14 days.
Rescue groups and veterinarians will encourage owners to vaccinate their rabbits against RHDV. However, we understand that there are health risks as well as animal rights concerns. We will recommend that you discuss with your trusted vet on what is the best decision for you and your rabbits.
For more information about RHD vaccination, read here: https://www.harcourt-brown.co.uk/articles/infectious-disease/rabbit-haemorrhagic-disease/vaccination-against-rhd.
(Photo credit to The Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund)