PDA

View Full Version : Over-Vaccinating our bunnies??



Mackers
22-09-2009, 09:15 AM
This is something that has worried me for some time and I'd like your opinions please. I do not intend for this to become a thread on 'I'd never forgive myself if I didn't vaccinate.......................etc'. I just want opinions on the reasons WHY we vaccinate at such regular and frequent intervals.

I DO NOT have my dogs annually vaccinated. They have their puppy jabs, a booster at a year old and then nothing else. I periodically have them titre tested but that in itself is not reliable since a low titre reading does not indicate low immunity. But it makes me feel better!

However, I continue to vaccinate my buns every 6 months for myxi and annually for VHD. And I have to ask myself why?

The following is taken from 'Dogs Today' magazine:-

QUOTE.........More than 30 years ago, Ronald D Schultz, chairman of the University of Wisconsin's Dept of Pathobiological Sciences and one of the foremost experts on dog and cat vaccines in the world, noted that immunity in adult dogs and cats lasted many years, and that there was no rhyme or reason to annual vaccination protocols.

Small Animal Practice (Current Veterinary Therapy, XI) published in 1992 notes that : "Annual vaccinations is a practice that was started many years ago and that lacks scientific validity or verification. Almost without exception there is no immunologic requirement for annual re-vaccination. Immunity to viruses persists for years or for the life of the animal".

More recently, the American Animal Hospital Association published Canine Vaccine Guidelines, Recommendations and Supporting Literature. This 2003 report notes "We now know that booster injections are of no value in dogs already immune and immunity from distemper and vaccinations last for a minimum of seven years based on challenge studies, and up to 15 years (a lifetime) based on antibody titre".

For decades now, veterinarians have known that cats and dogs inoculated with modified live virus vaccines create 'memory T-cells' that contain the code to fight off disease. If a vaccinated body is ever challenged again by that same type of infection, those memory T-cells swing into action and, using the old code, generate a vast reservoir of new antibodies to fight the infection and return the animal back to health.

Vets love their children but they have not been vaccinating their kids for measles, mumps, rubella, smallpox and polio every year, have they? Any why not? Simple: because they know that over-stimulating the immune system of any animal can trigger auto-immune disorders and increase (however slightly) the chance of a cancer occurring at the point of injection. And so vets do not over-vaccinate their own children and neither do any other doctors...........UNQUOTE

So my question is this.........if the above applies to humans, dogs and cats, why do we not apply the same rules to our bunnies? After all, the myxi vaccine is a modified pox virus. Why would it not create 'memory T-cells' in our rabbits in exactly the same way it does in dogs or humans? And the same goes for VHD?

SarahP
22-09-2009, 09:18 AM
I have been thinking the exact same thing recently, and it's one of the things that puts me off getting more bunnies. I truly believe that over-vaccinating is causing fragile health/poor immune systems. However, what's the alternative? :(

parsnipbun
22-09-2009, 09:20 AM
I am sure someone will be along very shortly to explain why the particular types of vaccines used for myxi do not create the same lifelong immunity - however as many of us know from experience the myxi jab immunity is actually slightly less than the six months currently recommended.

It may be to do with the fact that they are not actually injected with myxi itself but a closely related disease which gives cross immunity.

VHD I do not know about.

Jack's-Jane
22-09-2009, 09:20 AM
I suspect the same does apply to Rabbits. But there has been no research-eg titre testing etc. So frequency of vaccination advice is based on what has been tested-ie the duration of a recognised immune response I suppose :?

Mackers
22-09-2009, 09:20 AM
I have been thinking the exact same thing recently, and it's one of the things that puts me off getting more bunnies. I truly believe that over-vaccinating is causing fragile health/poor immune systems. However, what's the alternative? :(

I know! If I want to board my buns when I go on holiday, I HAVE to vaccinate them. That's one reason why I don't board my dogs and they come on holiday with me!

Every time that needle goes into one of my buns, I'm terrified that it's actually doing them more harm than good. But like you say, what's the alternative?

Jack's-Jane
22-09-2009, 09:21 AM
I have been thinking the exact same thing recently, and it's one of the things that puts me off getting more bunnies. I truly believe that over-vaccinating is causing fragile health/poor immune systems. However, what's the alternative? :(


Agree 100%

Stator
22-09-2009, 09:28 AM
If you're in one of the special groups you get a new Flu vaccine every year. They all work differently. Tetanus lasts about 10 years. Some vaccines last a life time. There's no reason to believe that because one vaccine lasts 10 years that another would. Unless someone has done proper scientific tests then I would stick with the existing recommendations which are based on scientific tests. If vets thought the vaccines were doing more harm than good they would not recommend them. Despite what a lot of people think 99% of vets are in the profession because they like animals, not because they think it's an easy way of making money. People who believe otherwise are crazy conspiracy theorists.

Mackers
22-09-2009, 09:48 AM
If you're in one of the special groups you get a new Flu vaccine every year. They all work differently. Tetanus lasts about 10 years. Some vaccines last a life time. There's no reason to believe that because one vaccine lasts 10 years that another would. Unless someone has done proper scientific tests then I would stick with the existing recommendations which are based on scientific tests. If vets thought the vaccines were doing more harm than good they would not recommend them. Despite what a lot of people think 99% of vets are in the profession because they like animals, not because they think it's an easy way of making money. People who believe otherwise are crazy conspiracy theorists.

But with things like the flu virus - it constantly mutates so you HAVE to create a new vaccine each year. But do myxi and VHD mutate? Unfortunately, rabbits (or dogs and cats come to that) don't seem to be worthy of vaccine testing as the drug companies are making money out of people annually vaccinating.

I don't think anyone believes that the majority of vets are just in it 'for the money' - I certainly don't. I just wish there was more research done so that we would know for certain whether the vaccines were actually doing more harm than good. After all, look at all the publicity surrounding the MMR jab for children. There may not yet be a definitive answer but at least it's 'out there' in the public domain. Animals just don't get a look in.

parsnipbun
22-09-2009, 12:19 PM
If you're in one of the special groups you get a new Flu vaccine every year. They all work differently. Tetanus lasts about 10 years. Some vaccines last a life time. There's no reason to believe that because one vaccine lasts 10 years that another would. Unless someone has done proper scientific tests then I would stick with the existing recommendations which are based on scientific tests. If vets thought the vaccines were doing more harm than good they would not recommend them. Despite what a lot of people think 99% of vets are in the profession because they like animals, not because they think it's an easy way of making money. People who believe otherwise are crazy conspiracy theorists.

Thats a good point - different human vaccines/inncoculations (they are actually different in the way they work) last differing amounts of time. Yellow fever, tetanus, Rabies, Typhoid etc etc are all different (and very very confusing!!) and I am sure heaps of research has been done on them.

halfpenny
22-09-2009, 02:43 PM
I have recently done a bit of reading about overvaccination in cats and dogs, and although there are 2 strongly differing opinions, many people agree that over vaccination does occur, but causes no adverse affects. I believe that the DHPPiL vaccine is given ( by most vets now) at 3 yearly intervals, the reason for this is because 3 years is the shortest time an animal has shown to lose its immunity. This means that even if your animal is immune for 7 years, some aren't and this is the 'easiest' way to cover all dogs. The PiL vaccine is given the other 2 years in between because they are diseases that mutate or immunity doesn't last for as long. i would assume that rabbit vaccines cover the same theory.
There are also people who believe that vaccines cause auto- immune disease, but often the illness is very common within specific breeds, which would indicate to me it is genetic rather than caused by an external influence. A more likely theory would be it can act as a trigger, but there are also indications that things like bites and cuts can also trigger the problem.
Myself, I suspect the fact that more people are showing signs of auto- immune disease and allergies say over vaccination isn't the cause, it would be only natural that our closest animal friends would follow the trend. Many scientists think that over cleanliness is the cause of this, and people are not being given the chance to develop a resistance to allergens/ germs.

I would suspect it is more improtant to vaccinate rabbits because the diseases can be carried in a wild population, while with dogs and cats- as long as about 70% of the population is vaccinated there is less chance of there being an epidemic.

Honestly, I don't think we will ever know the truth because it will be very hard to find somebody, who is unbiased, to fund the research. Most of what I have read has been very one sided.

Jack's-Jane
22-09-2009, 03:15 PM
I have recently done a bit of reading about overvaccination in cats and dogs, and although there are 2 strongly differing opinions, many people agree that over vaccination does occur, but causes no adverse affects. I believe that the DHPPiL vaccine is given ( by most vets now) at 3 yearly intervals, the reason for this is because 3 years is the shortest time an animal has shown to lose its immunity. This means that even if your animal is immune for 7 years, some aren't and this is the 'easiest' way to cover all dogs. The PiL vaccine is given the other 2 years in between because they are diseases that mutate or immunity doesn't last for as long. i would assume that rabbit vaccines cover the same theory.
There are also people who believe that vaccines cause auto- immune disease, but often the illness is very common within specific breeds, which would indicate to me it is genetic rather than caused by an external influence. A more likely theory would be it can act as a trigger, but there are also indications that things like bites and cuts can also trigger the problem.
Myself, I suspect the fact that more people are showing signs of auto- immune disease and allergies say over vaccination isn't the cause, it would be only natural that our closest animal friends would follow the trend. Many scientists think that over cleanliness is the cause of this, and people are not being given the chance to develop a resistance to allergens/ germs.

I would suspect it is more improtant to vaccinate rabbits because the diseases can be carried in a wild population, while with dogs and cats- as long as about 70% of the population is vaccinated there is less chance of there being an epidemic.

Honestly, I don't think we will ever know the truth because it will be very hard to find somebody, who is unbiased, to fund the research. Most of what I have read has been very one sided.

Sadly Rabbits seldom benefit from funding for research into medications/vaccines. I guess thats why so few drugs are licenced for Rabbits :cry:

Santa
22-09-2009, 03:41 PM
I would suspect it is more improtant to vaccinate rabbits because the diseases can be carried in a wild population, while with dogs and cats- as long as about 70% of the population is vaccinated there is less chance of there being an epidemic.

This is an excellent point - and with myxi in particular being insect-borne, it's a much higher risk for our little ones.

The thing about research though is that it's a double edged sword...properly verified research at the current time is going to involve laboratory animals, kept solely for the purpose of innoculating, blood testing, and possibly in some cases deliberately introducing the infectious agents to them :(

Jack's-Jane
22-09-2009, 03:53 PM
This is an excellent point - and with myxi in particular being insect-borne, it's a much higher risk for our little ones.

The thing about research though is that it's a double edged sword...properly verified research at the current time is going to involve laboratory animals, kept solely for the purpose of innoculating, blood testing, and possibly in some cases deliberately introducing the infectious agents to them :(

Well we know how we got the VHD Vaccine :cry:
But what would be the alternative :?

halfpenny
22-09-2009, 03:55 PM
This is an excellent point - and with myxi in particular being insect-borne, it's a much higher risk for our little ones.

The thing about research though is that it's a double edged sword...properly verified research at the current time is going to involve laboratory animals, kept solely for the purpose of innoculating, blood testing, and possibly in some cases deliberately introducing the infectious agents to them :(

I agree, I think in most cases they will be introduced to the agent and then culled afterwards, regardless as to whether they are still immune.

It would be such a huge 'experiment' which would have to run over years, it would cost a fortune. The amount of variables to be included for a proper study would be exhorbitant

unalakey
22-09-2009, 03:56 PM
I sometimes wonder about the vaccines too also with the excessive cleaning, i know people who have buns for years and not really looked after them, i.e poor diet, not regular cleaning, definately never vaccinated and their rabbits have lived years with no health issues:? Probably not happy buns though.

halfpenny
22-09-2009, 04:04 PM
Sadly Rabbits seldom benefit from funding for research into medications/vaccines. I guess thats why so few drugs are licenced for Rabbits :cry:

I am optimistic, Jane, that as rabbits get more popular and people become aware of general care and acknowledge them as being on par with dogs and cats, we will see an improvement in medical care.

Tamsin
22-09-2009, 04:10 PM
The recommendation for annual vaccination has always been because that's how long they tested it. It's great dogs can now be vaccinated less often but that's the result of studies that take years, you can't state one vacc lasts a lifetime without waiting a lifetime to test it :)

The same may apply to rabbit vacc but I won't be changing my routine until that's been tested. People still need boosters for some vaccs too :)

For myxi at least there is anecdotal evidence that boosters are necessary. With rabbits that have had a past jab but not up to date getting myxi where as jabbed rabbits getting the milder nodular form.

Vaccs also rely on a good immune system to give protection, everyone knows how good rabbits are at hiding illness. Even if only one jab is necessary, having a couple would help ensure full immunity is conveyed.

Jack's-Jane
22-09-2009, 04:10 PM
I am optimistic, Jane, that as rabbits get more popular and people become aware of general care and acknowledge them as being on par with dogs and cats, we will see an improvement in medical care.

I hope so.

Stator
22-09-2009, 04:17 PM
But with things like the flu virus - it constantly mutates so you HAVE to create a new vaccine each year. But do myxi and VHD mutate? Unfortunately, rabbits (or dogs and cats come to that) don't seem to be worthy of vaccine testing as the drug companies are making money out of people annually vaccinating.

I don't think anyone believes that the majority of vets are just in it 'for the money' - I certainly don't. I just wish there was more research done so that we would know for certain whether the vaccines were actually doing more harm than good. After all, look at all the publicity surrounding the MMR jab for children. There may not yet be a definitive answer but at least it's 'out there' in the public domain. Animals just don't get a look in.

Unfortunately testing involves giving some rabbits the vaccine and not giving some the vaccine and then exposing them all to myxi. They're usually all slaughtered afterwards anyway. So personally I don't really want any more testing to be done.

DemiS
22-09-2009, 04:30 PM
I sometimes wonder about the vaccines too also with the excessive cleaning, i know people who have buns for years and not really looked after them, i.e poor diet, not regular cleaning, definately never vaccinated and their rabbits have lived years with no health issues:? Probably not happy buns though.

I know plenty of un-vaccinated, un-neutered rabbits that weren't cleaned out every day and they all seemed extremely healthy and happy

Santa
22-09-2009, 04:34 PM
I think the important word there is "seemed". Because they are prey animals, they hide pain, discomfort, anxiety, fear etc extremely well. That's why it's our responsibility to make sure that we do care for them in the most appropriate way (e.g. right food, clean environment, exercise, companionship etc) regardless of how they "seem".

DemiS
22-09-2009, 04:35 PM
I think the important word there is "seemed". Because they are prey animals, they hide pain, discomfort, anxiety, fear etc extremely well. That's why it's our responsibility to make sure that we do care for them in the most appropriate way (e.g. right food, clean environment, exercise, companionship etc) regardless of how they "seem".

They had vet checks, and no health problems showed up

LionheadLuver
22-09-2009, 04:51 PM
I think it's all a bit paranoid thinking. Some rabbits are as tough as old boots, even if they are unneutered, unvaccinated, poor diet etc, and are healthy. And some rabbits are fragile little things, like Molly, round the clock care, clean environment, correct diet, vaccinated, neutered etc, but they are still unhealthy. I think it's good to neuter and vaccinate, but maybe it shouldn't be so pushed onto people. Keeping animals is the luck of the draw, some rabbits are ill their own lives, some never have a ill day in their life, and I don't think that any amount of medical care is going to change that.

Santa
22-09-2009, 04:55 PM
They had vet checks, and no health problems showed up

Vet checks don't account for 'happy' though...also, if they are unvaccinated and get myxi then the next vet check won't be so problem-free!

I have an acquaintance who has a rabbit, living alone, in a small hutch with no hay or straw, and she feeds it mashed potato and weetabix. It has never been vaccinated (she says that she stopped giving hay to prevent mxyi) and the rabbit is 8 years old. It may well technically be ok at a vet check, but that doesn't mean that it's an appropriate way to keep a rabbit to optimise its health and welfare...


Keeping animals is the luck of the draw, some rabbits are ill their own lives, some never have a ill day in their life, and I don't think that any amount of medical care is going to change that.

To a certain extent that may be true, but it's not true when it comes to things that are preventable through certain sensible precautions like vaccination, and also to a large extent, diet.

prettylupin
22-09-2009, 04:57 PM
[QUOTE=Santa;3334205]Vet checks don't account for 'happy' though...also, if they are unvaccinated and get myxi then the next vet check won't be so problem-free!

I have an acquaintance who has a rabbit, living alone, in a small hutch with no hay or straw, and she feeds it mashed potato and weetabix. It has never been vaccinated (she says that she stopped giving hay to prevent mxyi) and the rabbit is 8 years old. It may well technically be ok at a vet check, but that doesn't mean that it's an appropriate way to keep a rabbit to optimise its health and welfare...
[QUOTE]

:thumb:

SarahP
22-09-2009, 04:58 PM
I hope no-one thinks that my comments earlier were to say that I wouldn't vaccinate any future bunnies. What I'm saying is that I'm very uneasy about vaccinations, but that I can't see any alternative, ie in weighing up one risk against the other.

DemiS
22-09-2009, 04:58 PM
Vet checks don't account for 'happy' though...also, if they are unvaccinated and get myxi then the next vet check won't be so problem-free!

I have an acquaintance who has a rabbit, living alone, in a small hutch with no hay or straw, and she feeds it mashed potato and weetabix. It has never been vaccinated (she says that she stopped giving hay to prevent mxyi) and the rabbit is 8 years old. It may well technically be ok at a vet check, but that doesn't mean that it's an appropriate way to keep a rabbit to optimise its health and welfare...



To a certain extent that may be true, but it's not true when it comes to things that are preventable through certain sensible precautions like vaccination, and also to a large extent, diet.

I thought potato was poisonous to rabbits :shock:
And I never said it was the appropriate way, I was only saying that un-neutered, un-vaccinated rabbits can still be healthy.

Tamsin
22-09-2009, 05:16 PM
Not every unvaccinated rabbit gets myxi/VHD, your playing the odds. Odds are they may never be exposed so vacc is a waste of time/money or they are exposed and vacc saves their life and you never even know it.

There are people who have had unvaccinated rabbits years problem free. I'm sure a lot of people don't vaccinate up until the point where they get a case :) Which if you have rabbits long enough will happen someday even if its in 10 yrs time.

Daisylop
22-09-2009, 06:53 PM
over vaccinating our bunnies??.... and our children!!
[sorry to go off thread]

Mackers
22-09-2009, 08:22 PM
Thanks for all the replies guys - you've all made some very valid points. I don't think I'll ever be happy giving the amount of vaccinations to my buns that I do but as we've all said, what's the alternative?

I think we can only do what we believe is best at the time and be happy with that decision. If things change in the future and we later find out that what we did was wrong, we'll just have to try not to beat ourselves up about it.

Troublesome Two
22-09-2009, 08:27 PM
Its for herd protection and the only vaccinations that children have are for some very horrid and dangerous diseases. But thats another thread.

I would always vaccinate buns for simple fact that that is what is suggested. All diseases are different as people have already said and will require different types of protection. Playing numbers is dangerous especially if you love your bun. How guilty would you feel if your bun dies for sake of saving 15 a year (per vac).

I guess technically if buns were sourced correctly they could all be just carriers or just have genetic immunity.

halfpenny
22-09-2009, 08:44 PM
Its for herd protection and the only vaccinations that children have are for some very horrid and dangerous diseases. But thats another thread.

I would always vaccinate buns for simple fact that that is what is suggested. All diseases are different as people have already said and will require different types of protection. Playing numbers is dangerous especially if you love your bun. How guilty would you feel if your bun dies for sake of saving 15 a year (per vac).

I guess technically if buns were sourced correctly they could all be just carriers or just have genetic immunity.

I think that is the thing, people sometimes lose sight of the fact that vaccines stop killer diseases- look at smallpox, it is now classed as extinct, thanks to vaccination. This will never happen with FIV, Felv in cats and myxo and VHD because we can't control/ vaccinate the wild populations.

I am willing to risk a possible reduction in general immunity, if it actually happens, compared to the alternative.

sidereus7
22-09-2009, 08:57 PM
While this is luckily not a concern for me at the moment, as the US doesn't have much myxi at all and doesn't vaccinate any buns, this is definitely very interesting.

I am certainly no expert in any fashion, and this is all my hacked conjecture, but I would be hesitant to group cats and dogs in the same group with rabbits. Rabbits are different in so many ways, especially in that they are prey animals, not predators. To me, this says that rabbits are better designed for speed and evasion rather than being hardy creatures. I'm just saying that rabbits might not have the preservation mechanisms that dogs and cats do.

But until we know, I think it's better to over-vaccinate than risk a fatal disease. :(

areia
22-09-2009, 09:02 PM
with bunnies im a bit differant i get mine vax but with cats ive grown up with cats all my life my mum got all her kittens cats etc there first lot of jabs then never bothered with any more the neighbour has her cats vaxed every year she has lost 4 cats due to having more illneses were as weve had 9 and only lost one un natrualy my cat got poisoned the rest all have died of old age but i would also go by were you live if i lived in a city then i would vax more than i would if i lived in a quieter areas

Sam_Spice
23-09-2009, 09:10 AM
I know my cat only went to the vets once in her life, to get speyed, and she lived happily and healthily until 18 :D My yorkshire terrier also only had her puppy jabs and is still fighting fit at 13 years old and hasn't shown any signs of slowing down yet *touch-wood* and still loves spending 8hours in a field trying to herd 4 horses :roll::lol::D She's even a pedigree (which I've heard live shorter lives) but you would never tell the little scruffbag :lol:

As with similar posts, until there is something better, I will carry on vaccinating :wave: Like with the panacur updates which have only happened all recently, hopefully more vaccination news will occur sooner rather than later :D

Mackers
23-09-2009, 09:28 AM
Playing numbers is dangerous especially if you love your bun. How guilty would you feel if your bun dies for sake of saving 15 a year (per vac).

But my thread was never about saving the cost of the vaccination. It was always about 'are we doing more harm to our buns by vaccinating them so often than by only vaccinating once or twice during their lifetime?' Playing the 'if you love your bun' game is also very dangerous. We ALL love our buns and always do what we believe it best for them but it's because of my love for my buns that I question if regular vaccination is actually in their best interests.

Believe me, if a 'one-off lifetime immunity' vaccine cost 1000 and a '6 monthly but could cause life-threatening side effects vaccine' cost 50p, I'd pay the 1000 and go for the vaccine that I thought would cause least harm to my buns.

SarahP
23-09-2009, 09:45 AM
But my thread was never about saving the cost of the vaccination. It was always about 'are we doing more harm to our buns by vaccinating them so often than by only vaccinating once or twice during their lifetime?' Playing the 'if you love your bun' game is also very dangerous. We ALL love our buns and always do what we believe it best for them but it's because of my love for my buns that I question if regular vaccination is actually in their best interests.

Believe me, if a 'one-off lifetime immunity' vaccine cost 1000 and a '6 monthly but could cause life-threatening side effects vaccine' cost 50p, I'd pay the 1000 and go for the vaccine that I thought would cause least harm to my buns.

I totally agree - great post.

Santa
23-09-2009, 09:50 AM
Is there any suggestion that in healthy rabbits, it does cause life-threatening side-effects? I know that cats can develop aggressive sarcomas at the injection site, but I haven't heard of similar problems in rabbits.

As they've recently reduced the recommendation for revaccination from a year to 6 months, that suggests to me that whatever 'research' has been done on myxo at least, suggests that frequent revaccination is necessary. Thinking about it, myxo and VHD are the same given each time, whereas the dog/cat ones there's an initial course followed by boosters, which suggests that the immune response mechanism may work slightly differently for either these diseases, or in rabbits.

Next time I'm in, I might ask my vet if she does annual booster vaccinations for her cat...

marie_kubiak
23-09-2009, 10:34 AM
Next time I'm in, I might ask my vet if she does annual booster vaccinations for her cat...

I do :)

bunlover
23-09-2009, 10:41 AM
I do :)

marie while you are here it would be interesting to get a vets opinion on this, do you know if its been found to cause problems in rabbits? now iv always had my rabbits vaccinated but we used to do it annually then we realised the area was high risk and do the myxi every 6 months i too wonder about the stress etc of vet trip and injections and any future harm it may cause but having had a bun contract myxi within 6 months of the vaccination i truely believe without the vaccs id be putting her to sleep...she is still going strong at over 11years now and no i have not stopped vaccinating. just wondered a vets opinion! :wave:

halfpenny
23-09-2009, 11:27 AM
I do :)

So do all my vets.:D

LurcherGirl
23-09-2009, 01:13 PM
So my question is this.........if the above applies to humans, dogs and cats, why do we not apply the same rules to our bunnies? After all, the myxi vaccine is a modified pox virus. Why would it not create 'memory T-cells' in our rabbits in exactly the same way it does in dogs or humans? And the same goes for VHD?
I do apply the same to my bunnies. My bunnies get a myxi and vhd vaccination once when I get them (or by the rescue) and that's it. None of my bunnies are now up to date with vaccinations and I have no intention of re-vaccinating them. Whether it is linked or not, but none of my bunnies (and they are all rescues, so of unknown background) have on-going health issues and they don't have GI problems (unless there is an underlying problem). Sometimes when I read on here how much people struggle with their rabbits' health, I am wondering whether it has anything to do with overvaccinating (and keeping their environment almost sterile so they can't develop immunity against stuff).

My dogs on the other hand: 2 are titre tested every year as they already have auto-immune problems. So far, the titres have always come back as fine and they haven't needed re-vaccination (except for lepto, which they get yearly). The other two are vaccinated according to the three-yearly vaccination protocol that many vets use now and some vaccine manufacturers now recommend.

Vera

Mackers
23-09-2009, 01:56 PM
I do apply the same to my bunnies. My bunnies get a myxi and vhd vaccination once when I get them (or by the rescue) and that's it. None of my bunnies are now up to date with vaccinations and I have no intention of re-vaccinating them. Whether it is linked or not, but none of my bunnies (and they are all rescues, so of unknown background) have on-going health issues and they don't have GI problems (unless there is an underlying problem). Sometimes when I read on here how much people struggle with their rabbits' health, I am wondering whether it has anything to do with overvaccinating (and keeping their environment almost sterile so they can't develop immunity against stuff).

My dogs on the other hand: 2 are titre tested every year as they already have auto-immune problems. So far, the titres have always come back as fine and they haven't needed re-vaccination (except for lepto, which they get yearly). The other two are vaccinated according to the three-yearly vaccination protocol that many vets use now and some vaccine manufacturers now recommend.

Vera

Thanks - that's very interesting! I don't even bother with the lepto vaccine since it only covers about 3 strains of the disease and there are numerous ones that they can become infected with. Unfortunately though, as I want to board my bunnies during the summer holidays, I have to vaccinate.

I'm with you on the 'sterile environment' thing too. Although I clean out litter trays every two days, I almost never disinfect them and the only time I've ever disinfected the living quarters was when one of the buns had mites.

I'm a firm believer in exposing yourself to germs in order to stay healthy. I never wash fruit or veg before I eat it - as my grandmother used to say "you've got to eat a peck of dirt before you die" :D. I don't go around bleaching every household surface, I eat food that's past (and sometimes well past) its sell by/use by date:roll:, my dogs lick my face, I don't wash my hands after I've petted any of the animals and I've even been known to eat a tasty morsel that my dog's spat out - especially if it's something I didn't particularly want to share with them in the first place and I grudgingly gave them a piece :oops::lol: I have to say that I'm pretty healthy - I almost never get coughs and colds and I don't suffer from any allergies etc. I'm quite sure many of you may find my habbits disgusting but as they say on the TV......."Face - Bovvered??" :lol::lol:

Santa
23-09-2009, 02:43 PM
I think we're in danger of reading too much cause and effect here. Of course we hear of lots of poorly buns here, it's a forum full of rabbit enthusiasts and most people vaccinate. I could say that i have 3 very healthy 6 year old buns who are vaccinated every 6 months therefore vac must make them healthy. I'm sure vac may not always be appropriate for all buns but i think it's very dangerous ground to assume your buns are healthy because you don't vac.

Pegasys
23-09-2009, 02:55 PM
Hello, I am sort of looking into this for my honours project. I am looking at how vaccinating rabbits affects their lifespan. The results should be interesting :)

marie_kubiak
23-09-2009, 02:59 PM
marie while you are here it would be interesting to get a vets opinion on this, do you know if its been found to cause problems in rabbits? now iv always had my rabbits vaccinated but we used to do it annually then we realised the area was high risk and do the myxi every 6 months i too wonder about the stress etc of vet trip and injections and any future harm it may cause but having had a bun contract myxi within 6 months of the vaccination i truely believe without the vaccs id be putting her to sleep...she is still going strong at over 11years now and no i have not stopped vaccinating. just wondered a vets opinion! :wave:

Experiments have been carried out to prove intervals - vaccinated rabbits have been challenged with live myxoma virus at varying intervals post-vaccination. This showed that protection against myxomatosis wanes after 6 months and so boosters are needed at this frequency to maintain immunity. I can't immediately think of an identical study for calici virus but don't have my laptop with me that has my stash of papers.
I see very very few auto-immune diseases in rabbits (this is alleged to be the most common disease caused by vaccinations, as repeated vaccines are suggested to cause over stimulation). Those that I have seen have invariably been related to neoplasia - usually thymomas. The vast majority of my patients are vaccinated as recommended by data sheets and I am comfortable that I have not seen any long-term diseases that I could attribute to this system and no abnormalities in immune system cells/function are seen.
Side effects seen have been short-term and generally relate to Cylap vaccination which we have since switched to Lapinject.
I am very much in favour of the recommended protocols (myxi every 6 months, VHD annually) as it does prevent fatal disease effectively and I have seen no evidence to show that there are any adverse reactions whatsoever.
As an aside, antibody titres do not necessarily prove immunity -most viral infections rely on cell mediated immunity which cannot be measured.

Santa
23-09-2009, 03:29 PM
Thanks marie, that's really interesting.

louise and Gus
23-09-2009, 03:39 PM
Aside from the vaccination I also think it is a good chance to get your buns checked out by the vet every six months :) Also when I adopted them I signed an agreement to keep their vaccinations up to date. I would never not vaccinate my buns.

Mackers
23-09-2009, 03:48 PM
Thank you Marie. Your post has certainly reassured me that I'm doing the right thing by vaccinating every six months. And I also agree that it's always a good thing to get a bunny 'MOT' every six months as well.

nursecroft
23-09-2009, 04:23 PM
Experiments have been carried out to prove intervals - vaccinated rabbits have been challenged with live myxoma virus at varying intervals post-vaccination. This showed that protection against myxomatosis wanes after 6 months and so boosters are needed at this frequency to maintain immunity. I can't immediately think of an identical study for calici virus but don't have my laptop with me that has my stash of papers.
I see very very few auto-immune diseases in rabbits (this is alleged to be the most common disease caused by vaccinations, as repeated vaccines are suggested to cause over stimulation). Those that I have seen have invariably been related to neoplasia - usually thymomas. The vast majority of my patients are vaccinated as recommended by data sheets and I am comfortable that I have not seen any long-term diseases that I could attribute to this system and no abnormalities in immune system cells/function are seen.
Side effects seen have been short-term and generally relate to Cylap vaccination which we have since switched to Lapinject.
I am very much in favour of the recommended protocols (myxi every 6 months, VHD annually) as it does prevent fatal disease effectively and I have seen no evidence to show that there are any adverse reactions whatsoever.
As an aside, antibody titres do not necessarily prove immunity -most viral infections rely on cell mediated immunity which cannot be measured.

Great post, i wouldnt risk not vacc my bun and as already said i liked them to be checked over every 6 months especially as buns are very good at hiding potential problems.

Troublesome Two
23-09-2009, 07:39 PM
But my thread was never about saving the cost of the vaccination. It was always about 'are we doing more harm to our buns by vaccinating them so often than by only vaccinating once or twice during their lifetime?' Playing the 'if you love your bun' game is also very dangerous. We ALL love our buns and always do what we believe it best for them but it's because of my love for my buns that I question if regular vaccination is actually in their best interests.

Believe me, if a 'one-off lifetime immunity' vaccine cost 1000 and a '6 monthly but could cause life-threatening side effects vaccine' cost 50p, I'd pay the 1000 and go for the vaccine that I thought would cause least harm to my buns.

I apologise for that. Guess in a sense 'chinese whispers' in that i lost track of what the orignal thread started as so shouldnt have mentioned cost as a reason. But looking through some of the posts it is made out that we are only advised because people can make money out of us.

That they do, its a mix of the love of the job whilst trying to make money. Or all work would be done at cost price but they advise different vaccines for very good reasons.

Copying other comments the way forward is simple.

1 - administer vacines as recommended to protect against vile diseases.
2 - dont be afraid of letting them get dirty and exposed to everyday dirt. I used to clean them thoroughly every week but now every 2 weeks/ 3 at a push. (litter and poo picked out everyday).

Overcleaning only leaves the more resisitant bugs and bacteria behind that we struggle with after

Same applies to child etc.

SarahP
23-09-2009, 07:45 PM
I have to say that I don't agree we are over-cleaning our animals (rabbits or other small animals), due to the fact that they eat and poo in close proximity. Plus, due to the fact that E Cuniculi and coccidiosis spores are so resistant, I'd always prefer to disinfect thoroughly on a weekly basis, with twice daily litter tray empties. Over-cleaning would surely be a daily disinfect. I don't think a weekly disinfect is on the same level with the sterile environment babies are encouraged to be kept in.

Jack's-Jane
23-09-2009, 07:47 PM
All mine are cleaned out daily :?

Mackers
23-09-2009, 07:48 PM
I apologise for that. Guess in a sense 'chinese whispers' in that i lost track of what the orignal thread started as so shouldnt have mentioned cost as a reason. But looking through some of the posts it is made out that we are only advised because people can make money out of us.



No worries! I didn't think you were 'having a go' anyway - I just wanted to make it clear that it was never about the cost of the vaccine - just about me being an old worry-guts and wondering if what I was doing was right.

SarahP
23-09-2009, 07:49 PM
All mine are cleaned out daily :?

Disinfected or just emptying everything out?

DemiS
23-09-2009, 07:52 PM
I try not to disinfect the hutches, but I tend to more in summer when the flies come

angeleyes
23-09-2009, 07:54 PM
I sweep and 'tidy each day and fully disinfect and hose down on the weekend, i wouldn't have time to do the full clean every day!
It is interesting about the vaccinations, persoanlly i never had any vacs as a child and have never had anything wrong with me (touch wood) but did have to have a tetnus recently when i got a rusty nail in my finger and my arm went purple and blew up like a balloon, the hospital wouldn't believe i had never had a vac in my life and made me call my mum :oops: (I am 25 FGS!)
On the other hand i would never take the risk and not vac my buns, it would be awful if one of them caught it because i din't get their vacs done :(

Troublesome Two
23-09-2009, 07:57 PM
I do disinfect over winter but every other main clean. Revert to every clean in summer like you as flies and bacteria obviously thrive more.

It takes 20 - 30 mins every morn to clean them out snow / rain or sun. Disinfecting each time now seems OTT as long as checking bums etc are dirt free

Jack's-Jane
23-09-2009, 08:01 PM
Disinfected or just emptying everything out?

The litter trays are all disinfected daily. I use Milton.

LurcherGirl
24-09-2009, 10:30 AM
I think we're in danger of reading too much cause and effect here. Of course we hear of lots of poorly buns here, it's a forum full of rabbit enthusiasts and most people vaccinate. I could say that i have 3 very healthy 6 year old buns who are vaccinated every 6 months therefore vac must make them healthy. I'm sure vac may not always be appropriate for all buns but i think it's very dangerous ground to assume your buns are healthy because you don't vac.
I am certainly not saying that my bunnies are healthy BECAUSE they are not vaccinated! I have had sick bunnies and unexplained deaths too (though not GI problems unless there were serious underlying issues), so no miracles happening here! But what I am saying is that there is more and more evidence that over-vaccination can have a negative effect on an animal's health. I know a lot about it in dogs because I have two dogs with autoimmune problems, there is no reason why it should be any different in rabbits.

I am NOT saying to anyone not to vaccinate their rabbits (vaccinating and over-vaccinating are two different things), like I would never suggest to anyone not to vaccinate their dogs! But what I am saying is that it's worth thinking about and it should be an informed decision! If you decide that in your circumstances and according to your oppinion/experience you want to vaccinate your rabbits every six months, then I have absolutely no problem with that! But I have the same right to an opinion and decision too - and according to my opinion and experience I have decided not to vaccinate after their initial shots! (This decision might be different though if I lived in the country side surrounded by wild myxi rabbits and they were outdoor rabbits rather than the current scenario of indoor rabbits in the middle of London literally miles away from wild rabbits).

Vera

LurcherGirl
24-09-2009, 10:32 AM
As an aside, antibody titres do not necessarily prove immunity -most viral infections rely on cell mediated immunity which cannot be measured.
I am aware of that, but unfortunately titres are the best option we have available at the moment to give us an indication as to levels of immunity!

Vera

bluebunny
24-09-2009, 10:41 AM
I think rabbits that are ILL rabbits are just born to be like that All my rabbits are vaccinated,I only had gut problems with Claude and Vinnie both rexes so prob more to do with breeding than anything Miffy was nearly 6 years old been vaccinated since 8 weeks old myxi every 6 months vhd every year never had any health problems,Same as all my others but obviously not had them all as long

isla
24-09-2009, 11:02 AM
I don't want to get jumped on here, but I have been thinking long and hard about the vacc's in particular the myxi jab, and I probably wont be letting them have it anymore. As far as I am aware it doesn't stop them getting myxi, just gives them a better chance of surviving it. I would not put my rabbits through fighting the illness, and having to be given medication and being handled. I think for my rabbits it would be a lot kinder to have them pts straight away if they were to get myxi, which hopefully they never will.

I think for a lot of people the vacc is a very good idea, if they have tamer rabbits, who don't get so stressed at being handled they stop eating, with confident owners who are able to give the medication when required without stressing the rabbit even more. My rabbits wouldn't cope with it all, and I wouldn't put them through it.

I'll still do the VHD jab though.

Oh and about the cleaning, mine have their trays emptied and washed with lemon juice twice a week, usually thursday and sunday.

Tamsin
24-09-2009, 04:26 PM
As far as I am aware it doesn't stop them getting myxi, just gives them a better chance of surviving it.

The myxi jab does stop rabbits getting myxi, but no jab gives protection to 100% of those vaccinated. Where a rabbit does still get myxi just having partial immunity helps.

LionheadLuver
24-09-2009, 04:28 PM
I think rabbits that are ILL rabbits are just born to be like that All my rabbits are vaccinated,I only had gut problems with Claude and Vinnie both rexes so prob more to do with breeding than anything Miffy was nearly 6 years old been vaccinated since 8 weeks old myxi every 6 months vhd every year never had any health problems,Same as all my others but obviously not had them all as long

agree with this totally. Molly's been ill her whole life and it's just down to breeding really.

lilbun
24-09-2009, 11:33 PM
I recently started a thread in which I mentiuon that one of my buns had become ill 48 hrs after her mxyi jab.

Thinking back, I have now realised that there were signs that something was wrong in the days leading up to her illness, days before the myxi jab. I just didn't recognise the signs at the time (not coming out of her hutch as soon as I opened the door, sleeping more than normal).

Even if I did think the myxi jab was the final challenge to her immunity that made her ill, I would still continue with 6 monthly myxi . Research shows that the protection from the jab only lasts on average around 6 to 9 months.
Working in a vets I have seen the suffering of unvaccinated rabbit with myxi. If I can prevent that happening to mine, I will.

BB Mommy
24-09-2009, 11:49 PM
Mine are coming up for their 6 monthly myxi jabs so I was discussing this issue today.

I believe that provided the rabbit is in good health, then I will continue to vaccinate against myxi twice a year and vhd annually, as I will continue to worm every 6 months.

The only reason I won't vaccinate is where previously there has been a bad reaction e.g Joey (my old nethie ) was really poorly post myxo vacc last October, so he didn't have his annual vhd as he wasn't up to it, andI have to seriously consider in the next week whether he's upto having his 2nd myxi.

I clean litter trays every day too, but only Milton them once every 10 days or so, as I also believe, that as with children, a little dirt doesn't do any harm, but I NEVER mix litter trays with different rabbits - they all have their own named set of trays

capel
25-09-2009, 08:16 PM
Mine are myxi jabbed every six months. I'd rather err on the side of caution. None of mine have ever shown even minor side effects from the jab, and Floss survived 2 bouts of myxi..I wonder if she would have, had she not been vaccinated.