MSD Animal Health, a division of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, N.J., USA, introduced NOBIVAC® Myxo-RHD PLUS vaccine to reduce mortality and clinical signs of the three most common viral diseases in rabbitsi: myxomatosis and rabbit haemorrhagic disease (RHD) caused by both classic (RHDV1) and variant (RHDV2) strains.
Rabbits have become increasingly popular as a companion animal and are now the fourth most popular pet in Europeii, after dogs, cats and birds. Rabbits are meticulously clean animals and are easy to housetrain. Also, much like a dog, a pet rabbit can be taught to respond to his/her name, sit in your lap, and do simple tricks.
“MSD Animal Health is proud to introduce NOBIVAC Myxo-RHD PLUS, the first and only single injection vaccine to protect pet rabbits against the three most common, and often fatal, viral diseases affecting rabbits, as part of our ongoing commitment to innovation that improves the health and welfare of animals,” said Ingrid Deuzeman, Global Lead Companion Animal Vaccines at MSD Animal Health. “With one vaccination, pet rabbits can now be protected against these diseases.”
Myxomatosis, a leading cause of death in rabbits, with up to 100% mortality, is caused by the myxoma virus and spread between rabbits by close contact and biting insects such as fleas and mosquitoes.i The virus typically causes severe tumor-like swelling around the eyes, nose, mouth, ears and anogenital region,iii as well as immunosuppression leading to secondary bacterial infections that can cause severe respiratory disease.i
Rabbit hemorrhagic disease (RHD), a highly infectious and widespread disease,iv is caused by either classical or variant strains of the RHD virus (RHDV1 or RHDV2 strains respectively). The RHD virus causes an acute necrotising hepatitis and a widespread coagulopathy resulting in haemorrhages in many organs which can very rapidly lead to a high level of mortality in susceptible animals. The variant strain (RHDV2), which has spread throughout Europe since 2010 causing disease in both wild and pet rabbits, often results in a longer course of disease with a lower overall mortality; surviving and subclinical animals can potentially shed the virus for two months.v Unlike RHDV1, very young rabbits (<6 weeks of age) are also susceptible to disease caused by RHDV2.ii