A vet has warned North-east rabbit owners to urgently vaccinate their pets against a fatal disease, after a rapid outbreak.
Donview Veterinary Centre said myxomatosis is “spreading fast” in the Inverurie area.
Vets have seen around eight pets with the disease in the past week alone.
Charlie Carnochan, director of the centre, said he hadn’t seen a single case for a couple of years, until now.
He added: “We used to see it constantly but it hasn’t happened for a while.
“Every day we’re getting rabbits in with myxy.
“It’s just horrible.
“We can’t treat it, it’s pretty much fatal.
“It’s quite scary the speed it’s coming on and we have cut our vaccination costs down. The vaccine has to be done quickly because it takes some time for the vaccine to work.” Less than 5% of rabbits in the Inverurie area are vaccinated against the disease.
Myxomatosis is caused by the myxoma virus, which is widely distributed in the wild rabbit population.
Even if a rabbit never comes into direct contact with animals from the wild, it can still become infected with this disease.
This is because the virus is spread by bites from mosquitoes, flies, fur mites and fleas. The first symptoms are puffy eyelids and pus coming from the eye.
The disease leads to swelling of the throat, trouble breathing, bacterial infections and dehydration.
A vaccine, which lasts for a year, prevents most rabbits from contracting the disease although some may contract a mild but treatable form.