Do Rabbits Need Shots/Vaccines?

Do Rabbits Need Shots Vaccines
Do Rabbits Need Shots Vaccines

Did you just get a new pet rabbit? Congratulations on the new addition to your family! You may be surprised to know that rabbits are growing in popularity as pets all across the world. But this also raises questions about whether or not they need vaccines like cats and dogs do.

Do rabbits need shots? While rabbit vets in the United States typically don’t recommend vaccines, they are routinely vaccinated in the UK. The two diseases they are vaccinated for in the United Kingdom and some other countries are Myxomatosis and Viral Hemorrhagic Disease.  

If this is confusing to you, don’t worry. Below, we’ve compiled a comprehensive look into rabbit vaccines, and everything about them.


What Vaccinations Are Required For A Rabbit?

If you live in the United States, you are not required to get your pet rabbit any vaccinations. But if you reside in the UK, you should consider having them vaccinated for both Myxomatosis and Viral Hemorrhagic Disease. Both of these are diseases that primarily affect wild rabbit populations, but you don’t want your pet catching them, either.

Myxomatosis is a virus spread by biting insects, and it runs rampant in Britain’s wild rabbit population. It is characterized by puffiness, high fever, and difficulty eating and drinking. Rabbits typically die within 2 weeks of showing symptoms. Euthanasia is often required. There is no cure for this disease.

Viral Hemorrhagic Disease is also very common in the UK’s wild rabbits. It causes severe internal bleeding, and it is almost always fatal. There are two distinct strains of this virus that are present in rabbits. It is important to know that there is also no cure for this disease, as well. When present in rabbits, this disease is also called RVHD.

If you live in an area where wild rabbits are affected by either of these diseases, you should have your pet rabbit vaccinated to keep them healthy. These vaccinations will also help prevent them from dying young of a preventable disease.

How Often Should A Rabbit Get Shots?

If you are getting your rabbit vaccinated for the diseases we discussed above, your veterinarian will recommend a vaccination schedule. Typically, your rabbit should annually get a combination vaccination that protects against myxomatosis and strain 1 of RVHD. Then, every 6 – 12 months, they should get an additional vaccine for strain 2 of RVHD. It is important that you rabbit is protected against both strains of this deadly virus.

If you live an area where either of these diseases are more prevalent, your vet may recommend giving your rabbit the vaccines more often.

And if the disease is not as prevalent in your local area, but still recommended overall in your country, you should definitely get the vaccine. If an outbreak were to occur in your region, your unvaccinated rabbit could die very quickly. It’s better to have a protected bunny than an unprotected one.

How Does A Typical Visit To A Veterinarian Look Like?

When you go to the veterinarian, typically they will give your pet a comprehensive medical examination before administering any shots. This includes weighing your rabbit, checking their eyes, ears, nose, and answering questions about how your rabbit’s health and behavior have been lately. They may also ask you about what you feed your rabbit, and if they live inside or outside. If your rabbit lives outside, the vet may recommend that you get them vaccinated more often. This is because rabbits that live outside are more prone to catching diseases, versus their indoor counterparts.

Remember, your vet is there to help you keep your pet bunny healthy for life. It is important that they see your rabbit on a regular basis to help maintain their health. It is good to turn to them at any point if you have any health concerns about your rabbit.

What Are The Benefits of Shots for Rabbits?

Like any pet owner, you want to give your bunny the best chance at a long and healthy life. That is the goal with giving necessary vaccines. It is just as important as feeding a nutritious diet, giving your pet room to exercise, and giving them lots of loving attention.

If you live in a country where you rabbit needs to be vaccinated against deadly diseases, there are obvious benefits to these shots. Giving your rabbit immunity against deadly diseases will help keep your beloved pet alive for years to come. It will also help your rabbit against spreading any of these diseases to any other rabbits in close proximity.

What Rabbits Diseases Do Vaccine Prevent?

Myxomatosis and Viral Hemorrhagic Disease are the main diseases that you should have your rabbit vaccinated against. This is only needed if you live in a country where these diseases actively affect wild or domestic rabbits. If you do not vaccinate your rabbits for these diseases and they get sick, your pet will most likely die.

How Do I Take Care Of My Rabbits After Vaccine?

After your rabbit receives a vaccine, take it home and let your rabbit rest for a little bit. Your pet may be a little tired and sore in the injection area following the vaccine. Keep an eye on your rabbit to make sure it doesn’t show signs of lethargy. If it begins acting lethargic or otherwise abnormal, call your veterinarian right away.

Check the area of the vaccine site a few days after the shot to make sure that your rabbit has not developed a skin reaction to the shot. If there is a reaction, make sure to call you veterinarian and let them know right away.

Are Rabbit Vaccines Expensive?

Depending on your vet and their going rate, the cost of regular rabbit vaccines should not be too expensive for the average owner. Call veterinarians in your area to ask them for price quotes before choosing a specific vet to go to.

However, it’s worth noting that if you don’t have a rabbit yet and you live in an area where these vaccines are recommended, you should decide whether or not you are able to afford them before getting your bunny. After all, it is not a good idea to get a pet that you can not afford to take care of.

What Are Possible Side Effects of Vaccinations For Bunnies?

One possible side effect of these vaccinations is a possible skin reaction. But a skin reaction is better than having your pet bunny catch a deadly disease. Reactions to rabbit vaccines are very uncommon, but you should still keep an eye on your bunny right after it is vaccinated in case it displays abnormal behavior. If your rabbit displays abnormal behavior or lethargy after a vaccine, make sure to call your veterinarian as soon as possible.

What Happens If I Don’t Know If My Rabbit Got Vaccinated?

When you bought or adopted your rabbit, you should have been given a health chart that includes a vaccination record. If you were not given this, there may be some confusion over whether your rabbit had been vaccinated or not. First, you should try to ask the person you got the bunny from. But if they still don’t know, what are you supposed to do?

If you adopted an older rabbit and you’re not sure if it was vaccinated or not, you should start by speaking to your veterinarian. They may end up recommending that you get your bunny vaccinated just in case, in order to keep it healthy.

Are Vaccines For Rabbits The Same Around The World?

No, these vaccines are usually only available in countries where the diseases are prevalent. For example, rabbit vaccines are generally not available or recommended in the United States at this time. Check with your local veterinarian to see if rabbit vaccines are recommended and available in your region.

It is important to note that RVHD is rarely found on the west coast in the United States, primarily in California. Since there is not a vaccine available in the United States, this is usually controlled by lessening the risk of mosquitoes, fleas, and other pests in rabbits, since this is how the disease typically is spread.

Can Human Get Sick From Rabbits Without Vaccine?

While humans can get some viruses and parasites from rabbits and other small animals, they cannot contract Myxomatosis or Viral Hemorrhagic Disease from a rabbit. However, humans can transmit the RVHD virus on their skin or clothing from one rabbit to another. This is why you should never touch wild rabbits, or mess around in their nests. If you end up touching a wild rabbit, make sure you wash your hands right afterward.

Some diseases rabbits can transmit to humans include Tularemia, ringworm, external parasites, and more. If your rabbit happens to bite or scratch you, make sure you clean the wound as rabbits can transmit bacteria this way. That bacteria might get into your system and make you ill.

Yes, like most small animals, rabbits can be susceptible to getting parasites. Some of these parasites include various types of worms, Encephalitozoonosis, or other similar diseases. Rabbits may be able to pass parasites to both humans and other animals. Rabbits can contract parasites in every country, including the United States. However, parasites are more common in outdoor rabbits than ones that are kept exclusively indoors.

If you suspect that your rabbit may be at risk of contracting parasites, speak to your veterinarian. They may ask to examine your rabbit to determine if they have parasites or not. They may also ask if your rabbit lives outdoors, and recommend that you move the pet to an indoor habitat.


So, do rabbits need shots? Hopefully after reading this, you’ll be able to answer that question for yourself, depending on your location and vet’s recommendations. If you live in the UK, you should absolutely be vaccinating your rabbit against certain deadly diseases. Keeping your pet safe and healthy should be the priority of every owner.

Related Questions

Should I quarantine my new rabbit from my existing ones? If you are bringing a new bunny into a home with existing rabbits, you should absolutely quarantine the newcomer. This is to prevent the possible spread of any illnesses. Introduce them only after the new rabbit has been given a clean bill of health.

Can an unvaccinated rabbit make my other pets sick? Your rabbit could transmit parasites, fleas, mites, or other illnesses to cats, dogs, and other small animals. Make sure to take your rabbit to the veterinarian regularly to make sure it stays healthy.

What is the lifespan of a domestic rabbit? A pet rabbit in captivity will live on average between 7 to 10 years. Your rabbit’s quality and length of life will depend on how well you take care of it. Generally, healthy rabbits live longer.