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Is my Dutch rabbit now Immune to Myxomatosis?

Q: Is my Dutch rabbit now Immune to Myxomatosis? PetPlanet Vets PPAdmin pettalk@petplanet.co.uk My Dutch rabbit contracted Myxomatosis last year. He had been due a booster when he caught this illness. He is very well now, but what I would like to know is will he need a booster as usual (every six months) or is he now totally immune to this disease.

A:Is my Dutch rabbit now Immune to Myxomatosis? PetPlanet Vets PPAdmin pettalk@petplanet.co.uk Dear Shirley,

This is a difficult question to give an accurate answer to.
Immunity to disease is conferred by exposure to the virus in its natural form, or in a modified form as in a vaccine. The development of solid immunity depends on other factors as well, such as the age and general health of the animal.
If your rabbit had myxomatosis and recovered, I would expect him to have developed antibodies to the virus. However, it would be impossible to say how long lasting these antibodies would be. The only way to test immunity is to measure the antibodies in the blood (providing such a test is available), and if you want to be sure of protection, then having the booster vaccine is the safest option. It will not cause any problems if the rabbit already has immunity, and may stimulate further antibody production if immunity is waning.

Steve Mullender MRCVS

(vet for petplanet)

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