Rabbit owners in City of Kalamunda warned to vaccinate bunnies against calicivirus

Stock image.
Stock image.

RABBIT owners in the City of Kalamunda are being warned to ensure their pet’s vaccinations are up-to-date with the release of the calicivirus later this month.

The City will start a localised rabbit control program in mid-December using RCD, a biological control agent of the European rabbit in Australia.

The virus is spread from wild rabbits through mosquitoes and other vectors such as fleas and flies.

While the virus is specific to the European rabbit and will not affect any other animals, domestic rabbits can contract the virus.

Vaccinations are the greatest form of protection and are available to pet owners at local clinics.

New recommendations advise pet owners should have their rabbits vaccinated every six months.

Mayor John Giardina urged owners to ensure their rabbit’s vaccinations were up to date.

“Protecting your pet rabbit from RCD is as simple as a visit to your local veterinary clinic,” he said.

“Vaccinations are readily available. If you are unsure or want to know more, the best thing to do is to contact your vet.”

RCD was first released in Australia in 1996 and proved extremely effective, knocking down 90 per cent of the pest rabbit population in some parts of Australia.

However, it was less effective in cooler, wetter climates and rabbits developed a resistance over time.

A global search for a new strain of the virus was sought in 2014, resulting in a Korean strain being determined the most promising in addressing the climate challenges. The strain was released nationally in 2017.