LOOK OUT: North Coast Local Land Services are warning rabbit owners to remain vigilant and vaccinate their pets against Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease Virus.
LOOK OUT: North Coast Local Land Services are warning rabbit owners to remain vigilant and vaccinate their pets against Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease Virus. North Coast Local Land Services

Rabbit owners warned about deadly virus

THEY'RE cute and fluffy and are the beloved pets of many locals, but owners of domesticated rabbits are warned to remain vigilant of their furry friends in coming weeks.

Due to an increasing number of landholders reporting wild rabbit impacts on their land, North Coast Local Land Services will be helping landholders co-ordinate the release of the rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus K5 strain of calicivirus across numerous sites in the region over the coming months.

Owners of pet and farmed rabbits are encouraged to ensure they have appropriate biosecurity measures in place, such as vaccinations and preventing access by wild rabbits, to minimise the chance of their rabbits becoming infected.

A Lismore Central Veterinary Hospital spokeswoman said there were steps owners can take to protect their rabbits.

"Vaccination is the number one thing owners can do to protect their bunnies," she said.

The current vaccine is not fully protective against the K2 strain that is found in wild and pet rabbits and so it is important that pet rabbit owners have measures in place to restrict contact with wild rabbits.

Rabbits are estimated to cause more than $200 million of damage to Australian agriculture every year, and are a potential threat to at least 304 native threatened species.



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