How to deal with myxomatosis in rabbits

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Myxomatosis in rabbits is quite common, while veterinarians attribute it to the group of the most dangerous and terrible diseases. Viruses cause myxomatosis, so it gets lightning-fast spread not only among rabbits, but also among other animals, for example, hares. By the way, myxomatosis takes roots from distant America, where wild hares, which were kept in cages, suffered from this disease.

Myxomatosis in rabbits

Myxomatosis in rabbits

It is believed that from there myxomatosis spread to other continents. Only a timely diagnosis and timely treatment can help a sick animal, therefore it is important to understand what symptoms indicate the development of myxomatosis in rabbits.

How does the infection take place

It is generally accepted that strong immunity is capable of repelling any virus, but this is not fair for myxomatosis. Even the strongest members of the household can be threatened. Especially often outbreaks of the disease occur in the summer period, because at this time the number of insect carriers of the virus increases sharply. Having reinsured using folk methods and not giving the medicine to the pets in time, the farmer risks losing all the livestock.

It is not for nothing that, speaking about myxomatosis, we used the word "outbreak", since with this disease there cannot be a single case of infection.

Among rabbits, the virus spreads by contact with the secretions of the mucous membranes, that is, through the discharge from the nose and eyes. It is difficult to destroy the myxomatosis virus: it keeps life long enough even in a corpse. For this reason, it is so important to properly dispose of deceased animals and conduct a thorough disinfection.

Symptoms of the disease

The main symptoms of myxomatosis:

  • The color of the protein of the eyeball changes, red growths and spots around the eyes also appear, the area around the ears, the inner and outer eyelids, often suffers. The individual behaves changeably, sometimes refuses to eat the usual food.
  • Further, conjunctivitis of a purulent nature develops. At first, this is just ordinary mucus, then the composition of the secretions changes to serous - the rabbit's eyes can stick together.
  • Over time, swelling appears. First, edema occurs on the back, then grows up to the head and down to the anus and external genitals. Because of this, the head of a rabbit suffering from myxomatosis is capable of reaching enormous sizes, which immediately catches the eye upon external examination.
  • Purulent fluid is released from the nose, rhinitis develops. This is an already advanced form of the disease, the pet dies slowly and painfully. Usually, some time after the appearance of this symptom, pneumonia occurs.
  • All these symptoms are complemented by an increase in body temperature. Breeders recorded indicators of about 40-42 ° C.

What should be the treatment for rabbits

The first thing livestock breeders think about is home treatment. How and how to treat myxomatosis in rabbits? Do not rush to use folk remedies at your own peril and risk. The first step is to invite a veterinarian for a consultation. The doctor will be able to confirm or refute the guesswork, prescribe adequate treatment and prescribe the right medication. Most often, therapy is selected based on the antibiotic penicillin, antiviral agents and the introduction of saline solution by droppers or injections. You need to drip it 2 times a day.

Despite the fact that at present you can find a lot of home treatment options for myxomatosis, veterinarians recommend using them only as an auxiliary treatment, and not in any way the main therapy.

You can help the animal at home as follows:

  • Strictly follow all the recommendations received from the veterinarian. Performing them thoroughly increases the rabbit's chances of recovery.
  • Create the most comfortable temperature for the rabbits: the room should be neither hot nor cold. It is important to protect diseased individuals from drafts.
  • One of the symptoms of myxomatosis is a deterioration in appetite. Despite the fact that the animal refuses to eat, the owner must ensure that the rabbit receives fresh, balanced food. In addition, you need to make sure that the drinking regime is not violated: there must be enough water and it must be always fresh. If the rabbit or rabbit does not drink themselves, you need to take control of the process and water them with a syringe.
  • Since the organs of the respiratory system are involved in the disease of rabbits myxomatosis, every effort must be made to facilitate breathing in rabbits. Experienced breeders use humidifiers for this, while adding a few drops of healing eucalyptus oil or green tea to the water.

Traditional methods of dealing with myxomatosis

If earlier it was about the accompanying measures that helped in the main treatment, then here we will talk about the treatment with folk remedies. The most effective techniques:

  • Inflamed areas of the skin should be treated with tampons generously dipped in sunflower seed oil.
  • In order to increase the rabbit's resistance to the virus, you can try to start injecting a solution of camel thorn. You can really do it yourself at home. Despite the fact that the recipe has a lot of positive reviews, it is recommended to obtain prior veterinarian approval.
  • In order for wounds and ulcers to heal faster and not to bleed, you can try urine therapy, in this case, the urine of the rabbit itself will be used. It is necessary to collect a daily portion of urine and leave to settle in the sun for the whole daylight hours. After that, it is necessary to blot the affected skin areas with such urine. It will soon become noticeable that the wounds heal and stop bleeding.


In the case of animals, it is also argued that preventing myxomatosis in farm rabbits is the best treatment. The phrase is gaining great importance, because the treatment of myxomatosis in rabbits at home in many cases is simply impossible. As for vaccination, in Russia and other CIS countries, VGBV (associated vaccination) or a live vaccine against the myxomatosis virus is used. There are also 2 options for administering the drug: under the skin or intravenously.

Immunity is developed approximately 7-10 days after vaccination is performed. With regard to the duration of one vaccine, the period of protection lasts about 9-12 months, after which it is necessary to carry out revaccination. Usually it is done once a year.

Veterinarians advise to vaccinate rabbits in the spring, when mosquitoes and mosquitoes begin to appear. It is the blood-sucking ones that contribute to the fact that myxomatosis of rabbits is gaining popularity.

The vaccine is not free, and this frightens off many livestock breeders, especially those who are new to rabbits. However, the savings can turn into the death of the entire livestock in the future.

In order to save on vaccinations, you can independently purchase drugs and antibiotics and inject fluffy ones at home. A detailed description and instructions will come to the rescue, which is attached to each package with a medicine. You can also ask a professional for help once, so that he teaches how to properly give injections to rabbits. If the rabbits do get sick and the farmer noticed the first signs, fluffy ones should be treated immediately.

Is eating meat from recovered rabbits dangerous?

If, nevertheless, it was possible to defeat myxomatosis, a completely logical question arises, what to do with the meat of individuals who have recovered, can you eat rabbits who have had myxomatosis, or not? It is impossible to find a definite answer to this question. Leading veterinarians differ. Some experts declare that there is no threat to humans, so it is not forbidden to eat both the meat of a farm rabbit suffering from myxomatosis and the meat that was slaughtered during the illness. Rabbits, after suffering myxomatosis, lose weight, their meat loses all its qualities.

The second opinion is that, although the virus itself cannot infect humans, it is likely that rabbit meat will have a different chemical composition due to the fact that there are ulcers, wounds and swelling on the skin. In addition, such individuals change their metabolism.

Infectionists, however, are sure that meat can still be eaten, because during heat treatment all pests, viruses and microbes that are in the animal's body during life are destroyed.


If the farm has a case of myxomatosis in rabbits, it receives the status of unfavorable in terms of morbidity among domestic animals and is subject to compulsory disinfection. In this regard, quarantine boundaries are established, which will be protected by the veterinary service. These activities are carried out in order to minimize the risks of the spread of the virus outside the infected area.

What the quarantine provides:

  • It is strictly forbidden to import and export live rabbits, rabbit carcasses, skins, fluff outside and outside the quarantine territory. The ban applies to the movement of cells, equipment that was used to care for the eared.
  • It is forbidden to move animals inside the quarantine area.
  • A strict ban on trade in livestock products is immediately introduced until all restrictions are lifted.

Combating myxomatosis at the industrial level

In order to overcome the terrible virus on farms, massive methods and means of struggle are chosen. They include activities such as:

  • treatment of roads inside the quarantine zone with chemicals;
  • disinsection work to destroy blood-sucking insects;
  • admission to the personnel affected area only in special protective clothing, specially treated at the entrance.

The fate of sick individuals

All livestock of the rabbit farm are divided into not 2 groups. The first includes all individuals showing certain signs of myxomatosis. This can be a runny nose, the presence of tumors and ulcers, cough, discharge from the eyes and genitals. The second group includes all other rabbits that do not show any signs of illness. Depending on which group the animal was assigned to, its further fate is decided.

So, rabbits that were ranked in the first group are slaughtered immediately. Their carcasses, together with the carcasses of those who died of natural death, as well as all equipment, food, bedding, cages must be disposed of by burning. The room and cages where sick animals lived must be properly treated, that is, disinfected. This is done by a special service.

The second group is slaughtered for the purpose of further sale for meat. Moreover, the direct slaughter and cutting are carried out on the spot. It is important to follow all precautions while doing this to prevent further spread of the disease.

Farms where no sick individuals have been identified must conduct a general vaccination of each animal. For some time after this, the veterinary service will closely monitor the situation and cases of myxomatosis.

Removing quarantine

How long does the quarantine last? Officially, the quarantine is lifted 2 weeks after the last case of myxomatosis was diagnosed. However, even after that, some restrictions must be maintained for some time:

  • For the first 2 months, there will be a ban on the import of new livestock of rabbits into the territory of the recent quarantine.
  • Import exceptions can be approved by the veterinary authority of a given region or region, while animals must undergo the strictest control, have all antiviral vaccinations, which will be indicated in the veterinary certificate.


Myxomatosis is a dangerous and insidious disease, which at one point can destroy the entire population of rabbits, as a result of which their cells will become empty. It is important not to neglect prevention, as it is the only way to keep the animal alive. Remember that the animal must be treated by a specialist.

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