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1. What is Myxomatosis?

Myxomatosis is a viral disease of rabbits. It was introduced into Australia to control the wild rabbit population. It is easily spread to pet rabbits.


2. How is the virus transmitted?

The virus is transmitted (spread) from rabbit to rabbit via bites from mosquitoes, fleas and other insects. As the virus is spread by insects, indoor rabbits are also at risk.


3. What are the clinical signs of Myxomatosis?

·         Swelling of the lips, ears, eyelids and/or genitals

·         Anorexia (not eating)

·         Diarrhoea

·      Fever

·         Respiratory signs including: wheezing, watery eyes and discharge from the nostrils

·         Slow progression of the above signs leading to collapse and death

·         A small number of cases will die suddenly with few or no signs


4. Which rabbits are most at risk?

All rabbits are at risk. Due to differences in immunity approximately 50% of rabbits exposed to the virus will become sick. Almost 100% of those sick rabbits will eventually die. The progression of disease in affected rabbits is slow and very painful.


5. How do I protect my rabbit?

There are no available vaccinations in Australia against Myxomatosis. The only way to protect pet rabbits is to limit their exposure to biting insects. The best ways to do this are:

·         Keeping your rabbit inside at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active

·         Covering hutches with mosquito netting

·      Using regular flea prevention such as Revolution® or Advantage®


6. Can you treat Myxomatosis?

There are no treatments available for Myxomatosis. Supportive care and treatment of secondary infections may provide a better quality of life in the end stages of disease. Unfortunately despite this almost all cases will eventually die.



The only all bird and exotics veterinary clinic in Sydney.

We only see rabbits, guinea pigs, ferrets, rodents, birds, fish and reptiles.

Open Monday to Saturday.


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