Rabbits at risk

PUBLISHED: 13:13 12 October 2007 | UPDATED: 20:10 01 June 2010

THE future of rabbits on Wisbech s Freedom Bridge roundabout is at risk because of a deadly disease running through their colony. At least three of the rabbits have been rescued from the roundabout and destroyed because they had myxomatosis. Marwan Tarazi

THE future of rabbits on Wisbech's Freedom Bridge roundabout is at risk because of a deadly disease running through their colony.

At least three of the rabbits have been rescued from the roundabout and destroyed because they had myxomatosis.

Marwan Tarazi, head vet at Vetsavers in Wisbech, said: "We have been called to the roundabout on at least three occasions to rescue sick rabbits.

"They had myxomatosis and we had to put them down because there is no treatment."

Myxomatosis, commonly referred to as myxie, is spread from rabbit to rabbit through flea and mosquito bites. At first, the disease is visible by lumps and puffiness around the head and may progress to conjunctivitis or blindness. Rabbits can also lose appetite for food and develop a fever.

A vaccination is available to protect rabbits but, if unvaccinated, the disease can kill within two weeks.

It was originally introduced to this country in the late 1800s, to control the rabbit population.

A spokesman for the RSPCA said: "We would ask members of the public to contact the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999 if they see a sick rabbit or any which may be suffering from myxomatosis.

"We will then be able to come out to the affected rabbit.

"These rabbits may well be affected by myxomatosis as they are as susceptible to the disease as other wild rabbits. Unfortunately, myxie remains endemic and owners of pet rabbits need to get them vaccinated as they can also be at risk if kept outside.

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