Your Bunny’s Survival Guide:

Vaccination and Precautions

– Vaccinate your bunnies if you can afford to and if you can find a vet that stocks the vaccine. Ask your vet about options to bolster your bunny’s immune system post-vaccination. Take special care between 8 and 14 weeks (avoid vaccination during this period if possible) to protect the liver and observe closely for other infections.

– The vaccination doesn’t confer immunity; it simply increases their chances of survival.

– Refrain from selling, buying or transporting any rabbits or hares to or from hotspots. Quarantine new rabbits for a minimum of 28 days.


– Lockdown/quarantine your bunnies, at least until the current outbreak has passed. Create a safe indoor space for your bunnies. Use cages if necessary.

– Separate your bunnies from your other pets/animals.

– Disinfect everything that might come into contact with them or their environment using F10 SC, ensuring the correct concentration and maintaining it wet for the specified contact time.

– Deter insects. Employ mosquito netting where feasible. Maintaining cleanliness for your bunnies and their habitat will help deter insects like flies.

– Consult your vet about flea protection for your bunnies and all other animals in your home.

– Prevent any contact with wild rabbits and hares.

– Avoid places with other rabbits and hares.

Killing the RHD Virus

– The RHD virus is highly resilient and can survive on surfaces such as tables, carriers, shoes, floors and clothes for up to 105 days at room temperature. It can be transferred via hay, insects, and other animals, although these animals do not get infected.

– F10 SC at a concentration of 50ml per liter of water can kill the virus in 1 minute, but it’s too concentrated to be used near your bunny. This solution can be used to disinfect surfaces, clothing, foot baths, and for handwashing.

– F10 SC at 8ml per liter of water can kill the virus within a contact time of 30 minutes and is safe to use around and even on your bunny.

– Exposing the virus to 50˚C for 1 hour kills it.

Safe Hay for Your Bunny

– Secure a four-month supply of hay that was harvested before the major outbreak – act now!

– Ideally, purchase hay and store it for 4 months before feeding it to your bunny. Assume the virus is present on the hay and wait for it to die off before offering the hay to your bunny.

– Alternatively, you can heat-treat the hay: 1 hour at 50˚C will kill the virus.

– If uncertain about your hay’s safety, you can spray it with F10 SC (ensure it’s the SC variant) at 8ml per litre of water, with a contact time (while wet) of 30 minutes. Let the hay dry completely, preferably in the sun, before feeding it to your bunnies.

Important Considerations

• Report any sudden deaths in rabbits or hares to your vet, the state vet, the hotline, or at so that we can monitor its spread on the map. You can track the outbreak using the map available on the website.

• 95% of the affected animals show no symptoms, even upon autopsy, and there is NO CURE.

• RHDV affects only lagomorph species, which include rabbits and hares. It doesn’t infect humans, dogs, cats, etc. However, all these can act as carriers, transmitting the virus via surfaces.

• One can never be too cautious. RHDV is lethal and is spreading at an alarming rate. Many have reported a 100% mortality rate in their infected bunnies.

Take note:

The 8 – 14  weeks explained:

Babies’ livers go through changes to reach full maturity between 10 and 14 weeks of age, and if there are any underlying conditions that is affecting the liver, they will be sicker post-vaccination. our USA Vet Correspondent mentioned that the virus and vaccine both target the liver, and rabbits that have any underlying conditions of the liver or had serious medications that may have weakened the liver, esp hepatic coccidiosis, lipidosis or any underlying infection that may surge post vaccination while the immune system is adjusting to the vaccine, they will have a hard time.

Also,  Babies loose the temporary immunity gained from their mother at 7 weeks, when their own immune system kicks in.  They may then develop secondary bacterial infections due to a low immunity esp if the vaccine has been administered.  Thus safest is to vaccinate them -6 weeks of age so they will be covered during this fragile stage.

Vets will vaccinate from 30 days old, but we should know to take extra care between 10 to 14 weeks – this may vary between rabbits depending on development. Slower development may have them more ill for longer.

It is not a reason to STOP vaccinations, which can be done within 30 days, we should just phrase that babies between 8 and 14 weeks esp may need extra aftercare or even have liver support treatment a week before the vaccination date, and all rabbits should be watched for any secondary infection.

So vaccinations from 30 days on, we should not withhold vaccinations as only a handful may give any symptoms at all.

Some of the Side Effects of the Vaccine

Overall :   lethargy, fever, muscle pains and local reaction where injected (small lump, hair loss, open sore, pain.

Side Effects commonly seen from others also include lethargy, fever, and loss of appetite for the first 24-36 hrs.

Where can I vaccinate my Rabbits?

The Eravac Vaccination was imported into South Africa in May after lengthy dealings since the request in October last year.

You can contact the following veterinary practices:


Piere van Ryneveld – Centurion

Val de Grace – Pretoria

Craighall Veterinary Hospital – Randburg

Bryanston Avian, Exotic and Small Animal Clinic – Santon

The Glenns Vet Hospital – Alberton

Valley Farm Animal Hospital – Pretoria

Park Veterinary Hospital – Boksburg

Three Rivers Veterinary Hospital – Vereeniging

Vetmet Volksrust – Volksrust

Garden Route

Eden Small Animal Hospital – George

Knysna Veterinary Clinic – Knysna

Riversdal Dierehospitaal – Riversdale (no stock at this stage, only on prebooking)

Cape Town Area:

Cape Exotic Animal Hospital – Cape Town

Exotic Vet – Century City

Centre for Avian, Reptiles and Exotics – Klamputs/Stellenbosch

Drs Tutt – TAH Rosemead – Kenilworth

Village Vet – Hermanus

Eastern Cape:

Wild Coast Vets – East London