Vaccination of rabbits and ferrets


Vaccination of pet rabbits against rabbit caliciviral disease and ferrets against distemper is recommended.


Rabbit calicivirus disease occurs in wild and domestic European rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) in Australia causing acute haemorrhage and sudden death. The virus was prematurely released in Australia in 1995. A short time later a vaccine became available for use in pet and farmed rabbits. 1

Myxomatosis occurs in Australia, however a vaccine is not available or allowed to be used in Australia because of the risk of the vaccinate strain entering the wild rabbit population and stimulating immunity.

Distemper occurs in ferrets. Distemper is also known to exist in Australia, therefore the ferret population can be considered to be at risk.7 No specific monovalent vaccine for ferrets is available in Australia. Consequently polyvalent canine vaccines are used.

Guidelines 2017 - Calicivirus in Rabbits



  1. CSIRO. Rabbit Calicivirus Disease (RCD) 2010. Accessed 23 March 2010.
  2. The American Ferret Association. AFA Ferret (Mustela putorius furo) Vaccination Policy. Accessed 23 March 2010.
  3. Pfizer Animal Health. Product description/insert for Cylap RCD vaccine.
  4. Pfizer Animal Health (acquired from CSL). Technical Update. Commonwealth Serum Laboratories. Vaccination of ferrets with Canvac 3.
  5. Boehringer- Ingelheim
  6. Virbac
  7. Norris, JM, Krockenberger, MB, Baird, AA, Knudsen, G. Canine distemper: re-emergence of an old enemy. Australian Veterinary Journal, 84(10):362-636.
Date of ratification by the AVA Board: 
08 July 2011

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