Myxomatosis: vaccinating dwarf rabbits

Myxomatosis is a viral disease common mainly in wild rabbits in different parts of the world. This is perhaps one of the most dangerous diseases for our rabbit friends, as the likelihood of death is high. A rabbit with myxomatosis, in fact, has a life expectancy of about 6-10 days.

How to recognize the symptoms of the disease?

The first symptoms appear around the third/fourth day and in some cases could be mistaken for those of conjunctivitis, but maximum attention must be paid especially for unvaccinated rabbits.


Here are the symptoms:

  • malformations
  • conjunctivitis
  • breathing difficulties
  • difficulty in eating or drinking

How to prevent the disease

It should be considered that the disease spreads rapidly due to flea or mosquito bites, but infection can also occur through direct contact between two rabbits.


Vaccination of your rabbit is more than recommended by most veterinarians, and the same applies to any booster shots. Vaccination should take place at the age of 6 weeks.


Unfortunately, although it is the best prevention for the disease, the vaccine is not 100% safe and the risk of your vaccinated rabbit contracting the disease exists. But don’t worry, a vaccinated rabbit still has a much higher chance of survival.


Vaccination is not recommended in case the female rabbit is pregnant or for sick animals. It would therefore be advisable for the veterinarian to perform a complete check-up of your rabbit before proceeding with the injection.

How the vaccine works

To date, there is only one type of vaccine against mixomatosis and to ensure its effectiveness, it should be injected in two different ways. The majority of the vaccine should be administered under the skin, while the remaining part should be injected intradermally, that is, between the different layers of the skin.


Manufacturers recommend using the skin area at the base of the ears for intradermal injection. For the more substantial part, the same area or the nape of the neck can be used.

Recalls and continuous prevention

After the first vaccination, regular boosters are required. In areas where the risk of myxomatosis is high, boosters may be needed every 6 months. The disease tends to be seasonal, with waves of widespread infection occurring towards the end of summer. The ideal vaccination period would therefore be spring to ensure coverage for at least the entire summer period.


Finally, to prevent the disease, constant monitoring and care for your rabbit friend are necessary. Particular attention should be paid to insects that may fly around or attack them.

How much does the myxomatosis vaccine cost?

For this type of procedure, you will undoubtedly have to turn to a specialized veterinarian or a trusted pet store. The costs can obviously vary a lot because it will depend on the agreements with your veterinarian. Often, in fact, the price includes multiple vaccinations and a check-up. Normally, you should spend around 30-50 euros.


Remember that you will have to bear this expense and it should be considered in the budget for your little one. In the article How much does a dwarf rabbit cost? I tried to list all the costs, so take a look if you’re interested.