Rabbit health

Do rabbits get rabies? Is rabies vaccination needed for rabies?

September 10, 2019

Rabies virus (Rabies lyssavirus or Rabies virus) in rabbits has epizootic features. Like other warm-blooded animals, rabbits are susceptible to the virus. Meanwhile, a rabies vaccine is optional. Why? You will definitely find out by reading this article.

Rabies virus

The causative agent of hydrophobia is of a viral nature. The virus affects the nerve pathways, localized in saliva. It belongs to the genus Lyssavirus family Rhabdoviridae. Infection of a rabies-susceptible animal occurs in two main ways, through saliva, with:

  1. bite of a rabid animal;
  2. saliva in the wound.

The virus can also be transmitted by airborne droplets, alimentary, through the placenta. Although the likelihood of infection is minimal, but with rabies, jokes are bad. This disease is almost incurable.

Beware of getting the virus through microscopic (invisible) wounds on the body

Do rabbits get rabies? Is rabies vaccination needed for rabies?

A photo. Rabbits practically do not get rabies, although they participated in the experiments of Louis Pasteur to create a vaccine for this deadly disease

About 50 thousand people die every year from rabies in the world. In the Russian Federation, about 10 people annually die after being bitten by a rabid animal. over, 250-450 thousand people suffer from animal bites every year, every fourth of them is a child (Information and analytical review for 2005-2009, Rosselkhoznadzor)

Rabies is a natural focal disease

This means that the pathogen circulates indefinitely in the wild, rarely infects domestic animals and humans.

  1. The circulation of the virus in the wild fauna is carried out by foxes (rabies fox), raccoon dogs, wolves, marten (marten, ferret, badger) rodents (beaver, muskrat).
  2. Rabies susceptible pets, in decreasing order of value: dogs, cats, cows, pigs, as an exception rabbits.

Do not drag home affectionate hedgehogs, squirrels, do not touch the benevolent chanterelles that entered the village. A wild animal in a village that is not afraid of humans is deadly. Rabies is not necessarily aggression, sometimes it is cute, friendly, harmless and wushi-pusi.

Rabies is an anthropozoonous disease

Beware, people, wild and domestic animals suffer from rabies. Such diseases are called veterinarians zooanthroponosis, and doctors zoonoses.

Zooanthroponoses (zoonoses). a group of infectious diseases common to humans and animals

In addition to rabies, zoonoses include anthrax, tuberculosis, brucellosis, listeriosis, some helminthiases, the role of a person in the spread of these diseases is insignificant.

Do rabbits and rabbits get rabies?

You already know that all warm-blooded animals and birds, including rabbits and hares, are susceptible to rabies. Persistent fish, snake turtles and other cold-blooded animals are considered. All warm-blooded animals are divided into four groups of sensitivity to rabies virus (see photo.) Rabbits and hares are classified as highly sensitive animals.

Read more:  We analyze all aspects of the death of rabbits

A photo. Rabbits and hares are sensitive to the rabies virus, but in practice rabbit rabbits are not found. They are classified as deadlock type of infection.

Meanwhile, nowhere in the scientific reports does the role of rabbits and hares as animals. the spread of rabies.

This is a paradox. rabbits practically do not participate in the spread of rabies

This phenomenon is rare in epizootology. At the same time, animals with low sensitivity to rabies (dog, cow) are one of the main reservoirs of rabies.

Why rabies practically does not occur in rabbits

All warm-blooded animals are susceptible to rabies. In rabbits, after infection with rabies, the incubation (latent, non-infectious period) period lasts up to 2-3 weeks. After the onset of clinical signs of rabies, it dies within almost one to two days.

Rabbit, sick with rabies dies, not having time to become infectious

This is the main hypothesis, but not the only one. According to modern concepts, rabies rabies is considered a rare disease. Although about any obscure signs of a nervous system disorder in a rabbit, tell the veterinarian. This disease is exceptionally highly adaptable. In addition, a double of this disease, pseudorabies (Aujeszky’s disease), can occur in rabbits.

Possible rabies rabies symptoms

Identified in laboratory and rare accidental infections. The most important clinical signs in rabbits. They are associated mainly with vestibular lesions of the nervous system and signs of diseases of the nasopharynx, and not aggression.

  • Crepitus (creaking) when holding a hand over the body of a rabbit
  • General lethargy;
  • Tilts of the head;
  • Profuse saliva around the mouth;
  • Inflammation of the eyes, discharge from the eyes, inflammation of the ear;
  • Wheezing in the lungs;
  • Lying, lack of reaction to irritation;
  • Difficulty swallowing, like a bone stuck in a throat.

Do rabbits get rabies? Is rabies vaccination needed for rabies?

A photo. If a rabbit bites, then this does not mean that he is sick with rabies

Neurological Signs of Rabies Rabies

The most indicative of neural phenomena in rabies rabies. These are tilts of the head, twitching of the head (tremor), grinding of teeth, ascending paralysis, starting from the forelimbs.

Rising paralysis is the gradual disconnection of sensitivity from small areas to general paralysis

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Neurological signs progressing rapidly. Death occurs on day 1-2, a maximum of 3-4 days after the first signs.

Laboratory diagnostics

If rabbit infection is suspected, rabies is isolated in the vivarium of the veterinary laboratory and kept for some time. In modern laboratories, immunological studies are carried out. For post-mortem diagnosis, the brain is selected to detect Babesh-Negri bodies.

Rabies rabies treatment

Rabies is rarely diagnosed in rabbits. In the world there are only a few cases of rabies rabies infection. Animal treatment has not been developed. People are treated with a series of 40 injections of serum.

What to do if a rabbit has bitten?

The algorithm of actions of a person whose rabbit bit is monotonous, it is based on the mortal danger of the disease, and not the likelihood of contracting rabies. Avoid fatal errors that occur once per million negative cases.

  • In any case, if the rabbit bites you or injures you with claws, you should inform the local therapist as soon as possible (if the person has been bitten), or to the regional station station (if the animal has been bitten).
  • Rabbit bites are not significant in the spread of this infection, but its hind legs and front teeth are unusually traumatic and can cause a serious bloody wound.

Sometimes bites or scratches of rabbits can be the cause of suppuration on the skin of a bitten person or other animal.

Read more: why a rabbit bites.

In which case infection is excluded

After a bite of a supposedly rabid animal, 40 injections are given subcutaneously in the abdomen or six injections of intramuscularly therapeutic serum for rabies.

They put therapeutic serum (ready-made antibodies), and not a vaccine (weakened pathogen)

If a rabbit lives on, conditionally, the twentieth floor in a metropolis, probably only a person sick on his head will insist on treatment for a rabbit bite. A person does not have to be treated for a possible rabies infection if the decorative rabbit:

  • was constantly at home;
  • not in contact with other animals;
  • did not participate in animal exhibitions;
  • the rabbit did not contact hunters and animal experts.

History of the rabies vaccine

The author of the creation of a rabies vaccine is assigned to the French scientist Louis Pasteur. A suspension of street virus from the brain of a rabid dog was used as starting material. The suspension was vaccinated in rabbits. This method is called the multiple passages method. A total of 133 passages were made. Each time, the duration of the disease of infected rabbits decreased. From 16 days to 7 days. In this case, a complete loss of the virulence of the virus occurred. This material has been used as a rabies vaccine. Since then, all rabies vaccines have been called rabies.

Read more:  What diseases do rabbits have?

Why rabies should not be immunized against rabies

Rabbits rarely become infected with this disease. Therefore, rabies vaccines, especially for rabbits, do not exist. Rabies vaccination is not included in the list of mandatory preventive antiepizootic measures for:

  • productive rabbits;
  • decorative rabbits.

Mandatory vaccinations required to accompany rabbits is vaccination against myxoma, sometimes (not always) against viral hemorrhagic disease and pasteurellosis.

Do I need to put the vaccine during transportation

When crossing the borders of most countries, traveling by train, by plane, to participate in exhibitions, shows, moving through the territory of the Russian Federation, Ukraine, Belarus and other vaccinations with rabies vaccines are not required. Except as indicated by the veterinary service of the countries where the rabbit is imported or on the territory of the country.

Before transporting a rabbit, you can find out about changes in vaccination conditions at the regional veterinary station

What vaccines for rabies animals are used in the Russian Federation

These vaccinations are not intended specifically for rabbits, but if necessary, they can be used for prophylaxis and rabbits. An exhaustive list of rabies vaccines for animals registered in 2018 in the Russian Federation is indicated.

  • Inactivated liquid culture (ARRIAH).
  • From strain TS-80, culture lyophilized.
  • Inactivated dry culture from the Schelkovo-51 strain.
  • Inactivated culture adsorbed.
  • Inactivated dry culture from the Shchelkovo-51 strain for dogs and cats (Rabikan).
  • From the strain "Schelkovo-51" inactivated liquid culture (Rabikov).

The dosage, methods of administration will tell you the experts of the veterinary station in your area. And even they will put it themselves. In general, any vaccines, not just rabies, should be given by specialists.


Rabbits rarely get sick or transmit rabies. Some veterinarians use vaccines for dogs and cats to immunize. Rabies vaccines are optional for rabbits. The owner will not have problems transporting the rabbit and at exhibitions, unless there is a mark on such a vaccine in the veterinary certificate.

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