Mitcham pet rabbits die from myxomatosis, plea for vaccineArticle Shared : Whitehorse Leader
IT was a Christmas surprise that 10-year-old Freya McAuliffe did not have on her wish list.
The Mitcham girl was left heartbroken on the most festive day of the year after waking to find her pet rabbit Bubbles writhing in pain.
The bunny had contracted myxomatosis and died a few hours later.
The highly contagious disease then spread to the family’s other rabbit Millie, who was also put down on New Year’s Eve.
Myxomatosis causes lumps and puffiness around the head of rabbits, leading to possible blindness and death within 48 hours.
It is spread by bites from fleas or mosquitoes that have fed on an infected rabbit.
An available vaccine is illegal in Australia for fear it could be transmitted through the wild rabbit population.
Freya is starting a petition asking federal Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig to allow the vaccine.
“I was thinking about all the other pet owners that have had this happen to them,” she said.
“Dogs can be vaccinated for all the diseases they have so why can’t you get it for rabbits?”
Freya’s mother, Janine, said she knew many other families left shattered by the disease.
“It’s becoming such an epidemic at the moment,” she said.
“We feel it’s unfair when we are responsible pet owners.
“If there was a virus that was spread to dogs and cats and they went through excruciating pain and you had to put them down there would be an outcry.”
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