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Pet owners warned about myxomatosis virus in south Essex
VETS from Southend are urging rabbit owners to get their pets vaccinated after an outbreak of a deadly virus.
Staff from the Earls Hall Veterinary Hospital, in West-cliff, have seen an alarming number of rabbits suffering from myxomatosis.
In many cases the animals have been put down.
They spoke after vets across Castle Point were inundated with rabbits suffering from the disease.
Symptoms of the disease, which is spread by mosquitoes and flies, include lumps developing around the rabbit’s head and genitals.
Justine Thorne, a qualified veterinary nurse at Earls Hall, said: “At all of our surgeries, we are getting at least two or three rabbits on a daily basis.
“We would urge all rabbit owners to get their pets vaccinated against myxomatosis as even though they could still catch the disease, it becomes much easier to treat and could prevent the heartbreak of having to put the rabbit to sleep.
“The vaccine does cost about £44, but we are offering a third off.
“Also, the more unvaccin-ated rabbits there are, the greater the chance of myxomatosis being spread.”
Mrs Thorne, who owns rabbits herself, said the increased number of cases may be linked to the weather. She said: “We haven’t got a definitive answer why there are suddenly so many cases as there are a number of ways the disease is spread.
“But it is likely to do with the weather being wet and hot, which mosquitoes, which carry the disease, love.”