This information is provided by Provet for educational purposes only.
You should seek the advice of your veterinarian if your pet is ill as only he or she can correctly advise on the diagnosis and recommend the treatment that is most appropriate for your pet.
Myxomatosis is a potentially fatal viral disease which is well established in the wild rabbit population of many countries, and as a result it is transmitted from time to time to domesticated (pet) rabbits
The myxoma virus that causes myxomatosis occurs in a variety of different strains in North America, South America, Australia and Europe. It is highly virulent and is transmitted manly by the bite of insect vectors - eg the rabbit flea (Spilopsyllus cuniculli), mites and mosquitos.
The incubation period of the disease (the period when the animal is infected but is not showing signs) is 2-8 days, after which the following initial signs of myxomatosis may develop :
Later signs include :
Susceptible rabbits will die within 3 weeks of developing the signs of the disease, but a few may survive in which case the lesions take a few months to disappear. Wild rabbit populations have often developed an natural resistance to the virus and do not die, but still carry the virus and act as a reservoir of infection for pet rabbits.
There is no specific treatment for myxomatosis, although veterinarians can help infected rabbits by giving fluids to dehydrated individuals, and antibiotics to prevent secondary infections.
Rabbit owners should take the following precautions to avoid transmission of the disease :
Updated October 2013