Why vaccinate your rabbit

RHDV virus

Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease Virus (RHDV), previously known as Rabbit Calcivirus, is a biocontrol for wild rabbits.  

Predominantly, it is used in an effort to minimise environmental damage to agricultural land.

It is a cruel virus that is extremely painful for the rabbits & depending on the strain it is infected with, could result in death.


The first strain of RHDV (Calicivirus) known as the Czech strain, was released by the Australian Government in 1996.  This was soon followed by numerous controlled releases of RHDV1 & RHDV-K5.

RHDV2 virus mysteriously appeared in 2015 & to date, no-one knows where it came from.

What does it look like?

This virus can be very fast acting & your rabbit may not show any symptoms. For slower acting infections you may notice loss of appetite, lethargy and some bleeding from the nose, mouth and rectum.

Is there a vaccine?

Cylap is available to protect domestic rabbits against RHDV1 and RHDV-K5. You need to vaccinate your rabbit every 6 months.


No vaccine exists for RHDV2 in Australia. 


Dr. Mark White of Treidlia Biovet, Sydney, has actively sought approval to develop a vaccine, however his application is still awaiting government approval.

RHDV2 has been detected in my area. What can I do?
  • Keep your rabbits indoors & away from flies/insects
  • Keep everything as clean as possible to avoid contamination
  • Purchase certified hay
  • Leave shoes at front door & ensure you are clean before touching the rabbits.
What can we do to get a vaccine?

Support us by creating awareness about this horrible virus!

Contact your Local MP, arrange a meeting & plead with them to take this issue to Parliament. We want them to 'cut the red tape' and support the development of a multivalent vaccine to protect our pet rabbits.

Letter to your Local MP(pdf)