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Fatal rabbit virus diagnosed in Devon

Friday March 10th 2017

Rabbit owners in south-west England are being urged to be vigilant about symptoms of myxomatosis, after a bunny was taken to a Devonshire vet with signs of the deadly disease.

Dr Peter Martin from Jurassic Vets in Sidmouth is urging anyone who owns a rabbit to make sure they are fully vaccinated after making the diagnosis this week.

Speaking to the Sidmouth Herald, Dr Martin said: "Myxomatosis is a horrible disease and the prognosis for rabbits that become infected is very poor.

"It's rare for a rabbit to survive myxomatosis, so vaccination is the only way to protect Sidmouth's bunnies from the virus."

Myxomatosis is a severe viral disease that causes immense suffering to infected rabbits. Any treatment is usually futile.

The fatal infection is known to quickly spread across wild rabbits, but can also contaminate domestic rabbits via fleas, fur mites and mosquitoes.

The vet believes the warm weather at the end of February may have contributed to the current outbreak in east Devon.

Millions of rabbits were killed during the initial outbreak of the disease in Britain in the 1950s.

"The myxomatosis vaccination should be given annually, usually at the start of spring, to ensure protection through spring, summer and autumn, when biting insects are most common," Dr Martin added.

This article was written on behalf of helpucover. helpucover is a trading style of Pinnacle Insurance plc, an insurance company who offers Pet Insurance.

Copyright Press Association 2017