Islands’ Rabbit Owners Warned About Myxomatosis

Vicki's Rabbit, Denzel, who survived the killer rabbit disease

St Mary’s rabbit owners need to watch out for signs of myxomatosis.

Islands’ vet Heike Dorn says there’s an outbreak at the moment and she’s seen many victims, especially around the golf course and golfer Mark Twynham says he hasn’t seen it so bad in 20 years.

Heike says the disease comes in waves, every few years. The last one was 3 years ago.

She recommends that you bring any wild rabbits with signs of myxomatosis to her so they can be put to sleep.

If caught in time, pets with the virus can be saved, but it takes a lot of work.

Vicki Hitchens successfully nursed her 2-year-old French Lop, Denzel, back to health recently. Ironically, Vicki took him to Heike for a myxomatosis jab and it was then that he was diagnosed with the disease.

Vicki hand fed her pet liquids with a syringe for 2 months and brought him into the house for warmth for 6 months. He lost fur and suffered lesions but he survived, although his ears are a bit shorter now, she says. It wasn’t easy, says Vicki, but it was worth the effort.

Vicki’s pets have the run of the garden and she thinks he may have been infected by a flea carried by another rabbit or bird.