Tigger Club News
By Animals - For Animals


A new deadly disease is wiping out thousands of the UK's rabbits.
It is estimated 1.3 million pet rabbits are at risk from a mutated strain of Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease (RHD-2).

The disease was first recorded in the UK in 2014. It has few symptoms but is mostly fatal.
Hazel Elliott from the British Rabbit Council told Sky News it could be responsible for 4,000 pet rabbit deaths this year in the UK.
Some breeders have lost hundreds of rabbits at a time. 

"The first thing they notice is they go out and look in the hutch and find the rabbit stretched out almost looking as if it's asleep with no obvious reason for having died," she said.
"But within 24-36 hours they go out and find another rabbit dead, or maybe two or three."

The RHD-2 vaccination costs around £20-£30 but has to be ordered from the continent as it does not have a UK licence.
Owners are being encouraged to organise immunisation through a vet.
Sue O'Reilly, volunteer at  "The Littlest Rescue" centre in Bristol, has been trying to get her pet rabbit vaccinated for six months.

"It is absolutely devastating because without the vaccination the rabbit will die and it's not a very pleasant way for any animal to go," she said.
"The most scary thing is there are very few symptoms so as a pet owner you're looking after your pet and you think it's well and healthy and all of a sudden it will just pass away."
As well as pets, more than 37 million wild rabbits in the UK are at risk from the disease.

It can be carried by insects, rats, mice and birds as well as on shoes and clothing.

Some experts warn it could be more devastating than myxomatosis which killed 99% of the UK's rabbit population in the 1950s.
Martin Brice is a vet at Emerson's Green Veterinary surgery in Bristol, one of a few which carry the vaccine.

He warns owners need to be careful not to avoid spreading the infection.
"It's relatively easily spread," he said.
"It's stable in the environment for up to 120 days and people need to be washing their hutches, washing clothes - anything that's been in contact with the rabbit - at more than 60 or 70 degrees Celsius."
With concerns the hot weather will help the disease to spread more quickly, campaigners hope the vaccine will get its UK license in the next few months.