Rabbit calicivirus, RVHDV1 (also known as rabbit haemorrhagic disease or RHDV) has been present in New Zealand for decades and is in the Franklin area, we currently use Cylap® to vaccinate against this.
A new strain of the rabbit calicivirus RHDV2 was confirmed in New Zealand in May last year. The strain has been confirmed present in the North Island but not in the Franklin area yet (as far as we know) but because the virus is highly contagious, it is only a matter of time before it spreads here.
A vaccine called Filavac® is now being imported into NZ and will protect against both strains of RHDV. It can be given from 10 weeks of age with an annual booster and we have limited stock at Franklin Vets.
Cylap is still available and will protect against the strain known to be in our area.
However, due to its inability to protect against RHDV2, we recommend using Filavac whenever possible.
The Rabbit Breeder Associations in NZ and the UK recommended both rabbit vaccines should not be administered at the time of de-sexing. Administration at the time of post-op check or during a general vaccine consult is preferred.
Other information about Calicivirus:
We recommend desexing rabbits from 12 weeks old. Female rabbits should be de-sexed to prevent uterine cancer, which is so common that it occurs in 60% of rabbits over the age of 4 (with the rate increasing further as the rabbit ages). Speying a female rabbit also enables her to be successfully bonded with a de-sexed male rabbit (known as a husbun).