Rabbit calicivirus, RVHDV1 (also known as rabbit haemorrhagic disease or RHDV) has been present in New Zealand for decades and is in the Franklin area, we currently us Cylap® to vaccinate against this.


A new strain of the rabbit calicivirus RHDV2 was confirmed in New Zealand in May last year. The strain has been confirmed present in the North Island but not in the Franklin area yet (as far as we know) but because the virus is highly contagious, it is only a matter of time before it spreads here.pet rabbit

A vaccine called Filavac® is now being imported into NZ and will protect against both strains of RHDV.  It can be given from 10 weeks of age with an annual booster and is in stock at Franklin Vets.

Cylap is still available and will protect against the strain known to be in our area.

However, due to its inability to protect against RHDV2, we recommend using Filavac whenever possible. 

The Rabbit Breeder Associations in NZ and the UK recommended both rabbit vaccines should not be administered at the time of de-sexing. Administration at the time of post op check or during a general vaccine consult is preferred.

Other information about Calicivirus:

  • Rabbit calicivirus has a short incubation period of 3-4 days and a high mortality rate. It causes massive internal bleeding which kills the infected rabbit within 1-2 days. Sometimes there are no signs of illness, other times, there is bleeding from the nose. Some rabbits are found dead within hours of eating and acting normally.
  • Rabbit calicivirus is highly contagious and can survive several months in the environment which means that it spreads very easily. It can be blown in the wind or transported by people or birds. Rabbits can also be infected by contact with contaminated hay.

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