Rabbit health

Myxomatosis in rabbits is it possible to eat meat from a sick animal

September 7, 2019

Today, quite a lot of people living in a private house are involved in animal husbandry. I would like to note that this activity is not easy, as livestock requires serious care. Keeping rabbits is a rather complicated and painstaking task. The main problem is that rabbits are prone to a large number of diseases, of which myxomatosis is the most common. It can be transmitted both through plants used by rabbits for food, and through insects and other animals. In addition, the usual draft is the cause of the development of myxomatosis in animals. Does this disease pose a threat to people and is it possible to eat meat of a rabbit suffering from myxomatosis? Let’s try to dispel the prevailing myths and answer this question.

general information

The disease proceeds quickly and in an acute form, as a result of which the animal’s appetite disappears, blisters appear on its head, the rabbit constantly lies and does not move much. The first signs of the disease appear a few weeks after infection. It all depends on the strain of the virus. There are two varieties of this disease. nodular and edematous. Each of them proceeds and manifests itself in its own way.

Symptoms of myxomatosis

Regardless of the form of the disease and the strain of the virus, myxomatosis in rabbits is accompanied by the following general symptoms:

  • inflammation and purulent discharge from the eyes, as well as conjunctivitis;
  • the rabbit moves very little, and most of the time he prefers to just lie;
  • a significant increase in body temperature;
  • hair loss;
  • swelling of the eyelids and lips, drooping ears;
  • the formation of fibromyomas in the ears, nose and extremities;
  • rapid and heavy breathing, accompanied by wheezing.

As mentioned earlier, nodular and edematous forms of the disease manifest in different ways, so let’s take a closer look at each of them.

Edema myxomatosis

Nodular myxomatosis

This form is less transient and treatable. According to statistics, about half of diseased rabbits survive. Is it possible to eat rabbit meat that has had nodular form myxomatosis? It is possible because people are not affected by this viral disease.

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The presence of this form of the disease in rabbits can be determined by the characteristic nodules that are formed throughout the body of the animal. They are especially pronounced on the ears and in the eye area. The next manifestation that appears after the nodules is characteristic discharge from the nose, which may contain impurities of pus, and conjunctivitis.

In later stages, myxomatosis in rabbits is accompanied by a partial or complete loss of appetite, runny nose and characteristic wheezing. If untreated, the animal dies after about a month and a half. It is important to understand here that the sooner measures are taken to combat the disease, the more likely it is to overcome it. After recovery, nodules disappear on the rabbit’s body, but scars may remain after them.

The incubation period averages 11 days, after which the first manifestations of the disease appear. At the same time, the sick animal stops eating and drinking, and also does not react in any way to everything that happens around it. The percentage of survival depends on how well the protective functions of the body are developed in the rabbit. With proper care and therapy, the animal recovers completely, and the manifestations of the disease disappear.


But there is a flip side to the coin. There is a popular belief that meat of sick animals, even those that have been cured, is forbidden to eat. Rather, it can be eaten from a theoretical point of view, but in practice it turns out to be not quite aesthetic and hygienic. The thing is that even if myxomatosis in rabbits can be cured (is it possible to eat meat in sick animals, later in the article), then they lose their attractiveness and scare away their appearance.

According to the third popular opinion, it is not recommended to eat meat of any animals that have had any disease. Most experienced rabbit breeders are advised to burn the bodies of dead rabbits, as well as treat the barn with special disinfectants.

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So, is it possible to eat the meat of a rabbit sick with myxomatosis? It is inappropriate to give any advice on this subject, since each person must make such decisions himself. Here, more and more depends on the squeamishness of a person.

Disease control

If myxomatosis was detected in rabbits (is it possible to eat meat in this case, we already figured it out), then treatment should be started as soon as possible. If no action is taken in time, then the animal can not only die, but also infect the entire livestock. In addition, if the treatment was not carried out in full or started too late, the likelihood of re-development of the disease increases. In this case, the death of the animal can occur only a few days after the relapse. Sometimes even qualified veterinarians with extensive experience refuse to treat rabbits for myxomatosis if the farmer comes to them too late and the probability of curing the animal is very low. Therefore, the chances of independently overcoming the disease at home are extremely small.

How is the treatment going?

If the rabbit has no appetite and practically does not eat, then they make special injections that supply the body of the sick animal with all the substances necessary for life.

The most effective treatment will be in the early stages, when the disease has not yet begun to greatly progress.

In this case, treatment is carried out using the following drugs:

  • potent antibiotics;
  • immunomodulators.

If wounds began to appear on the body of the animal, then they must be treated with alcohol-based iodine. Similar procedures should be performed until the wounds completely disappear.

What drugs are used to treat myxomatosis

To combat myxomatosis, veterinarians use a variety of subcutaneous injections. In most cases, "Gamavit" is used, and if the rabbit has not eaten or drank for a long time, then it is used in conjunction with the "Ringer", designed to combat dehydration. The introduction of drugs is carried out until the complete recovery of the sick animal. In some cases, Fosprenil is prescribed instead of Gamavit.

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The following drugs are also very effective in this infectious disease:

  • “Baytril”. is poured into water in accordance with the recommendations specified in the instructions. The drug is given several times a day for two weeks.
  • Various nasal drops. are prescribed if the animal has purulent discharge from the nose. They help improve breathing and reduce wheezing.

In no case should you give a sick rabbit any medications without first examining the animal with a veterinarian.


Disease Prevention Activities

To reduce the likelihood of myxomatosis in rabbits, preventive vaccination of animals is necessary. To do this, it is better to contact a qualified veterinarian, since vaccination is performed taking into account the physiological characteristics of the rabbit and its immunity. It is also important to understand that no vaccination gives a 100% guarantee that rabbits will not get this dangerous disease. In addition, myxomatosis can be detected only after an incubation period, which can be from 3 to 20 days.

Myxomatosis in rabbits is it possible to eat meat from a sick animal

You can vaccinate rabbits aged at least 40 days and weighing at least 500 grams. Revaccination is performed three months after the first, and then. every 7 months.

Traditional methods of treatment

Some experienced farmers practice folk medicine when treating myxomatosis. Wounds on the body of the animal should be treated with refried or fresh sunflower oil.

Rabbit disinfection

To prevent infection of the entire rabbit population, it is recommended to disinfect the cells and the entire rabbit house.

To do this, use the following tools that can be purchased in many veterinary pharmacies:

  • Glutex
  • Virkon;
  • "Ecocide C";
  • 5 percent alcohol-based iodine solution.

In addition to the above tools, burnt lime, whiteness or lye will be very effective. Every corner should be treated, since myxomatosis is a very contagious viral disease, which is quite difficult to protect rabbits from.

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