Shires Vets veterinary surgeon Charlie Forman examines a rabbit


A new strain of a deadly disease which kills rabbits without warning has been confirmed in Staffordshire.

The discovery of VHD 2 has prompted leading county veterinary experts Shires Vets to urge all rabbit owners to ensure their pets are safely vaccinated.

VHD 2, also known as viral haemorrhagic disease, is a highly-infectious condition which primarily affects the liver, causing uncontrollable haemorrhages in one or more parts of the body. It can cause death within hours of the animal falling ill.

Rosie Campbell, a veterinary nurse and rabbit care expert at Shires’ Stone practice, said: “There has sadly been a confirmed case in the area of the killer disease for rabbits, VHD 2.

“This is a very dangerous, deadly disease and all rabbits are at risk, even indoor bunnies, as the disease is transmitted so easily. It can be in the air, on shoes or clothes or even in their hay.

The disease is virtually impossible detect and the first sign of this condition is often sudden death. There is also no cure or prevention available for this disease other than a vaccination. Unfortunately, as it’s a new and different strain, the existing vaccine for the previous version of the disease, VHD1, is not effective.

That’s why we are urging all rabbit owners to give us a call as soon as possible to discuss their pet’s vaccine status or book in for an updated vaccination.”

If your rabbit needs vaccinating against VHD 2, you can contact any of Shires’ five surgeries in Stafford, Stone, Eccleshall, Gnosall, Loggerheads and Eaton Park, Hanley. For more information on Shires Vets, visit