No vaccine for show rabbits?

by Dori Smith

I am surprised you are not recommending Bunny Vac for show rabbit breeders. Native immunity is a fallacy when it comes to pasteurella. As you pointed out in your article, healthy animals may resist becoming ill or showing symptoms but stress can depress the immune system and allow symptoms to surface.

Travel, shows and exposure to sick animals are all stressful events. Later, that animal may be used for breeding where gestation, kindling and lactation become physical stressors on the animal. We, as responsible breeders, need to be at the forefront of controlling and eliminating pasteurellosis in our hobby.

The only way we will eliminate this blight in rabbit world is if we all quit burying our heads in the sand and vaccinate our entire herds. I have. I hope others will follow suit and we can eliminate this problem!
Dori Smith
Rose Arbor Rabbitry

***** Karen Sez *****
Thank you for your response, Dori.
I certainly agree with your assessment, but have huge reservations with the plan of action. At the same time, I thoroughly respect you as a breeder who cares about bettering our rabbits and our industry and hobby.

After days of mulling over your comments, I can see two areas that can be addressed:

First: I have used native immunity very successfully in my own herd to overcome pasteurellosis. I wonder why it would be called a fallacy.

Second: If wholesale vaccination could really eliminate pasteurellosis, I'd be all over it. But there are multiple reasons why I have my doubts, and since my thoughts were too lengthy to include here, I put my reservations into a new website page:

Here is a thumbnail of my reservations:

1) Vaccination will mask rabbits’ genetic flaws, crippling my ability to breed for health (the deal-breaker for me)

2) My carrier rabbits remain carrier rabbits, as far as we know right now

3) I still have to deal with all the strains of P. multocida that are not covered in the vaccine

4) I have to vaccinate every year. What happens when cost goes up and availability goes down?

5) What are the long-term effects of the other vaccine ingredients (mercury and aluminum) on rabbit and human health?

6) The vaccine may still fail to protect my aging rabbits as age weakens their natural immunity

7) What will happen when (not if) P. multocida eventually mutates and the vaccine’s efficacy drops? Will this take 5 years, or 55 years? That the bacteria will mutate is not in question, and when they do, then what?

I dearly hope that I am wrong to not vaccinate. But for me, I want to see all the study data before I take the plunge (see the above URL), and will certainly change my tune in a heartbeat if unbiased and uncompromised third party studies show good reason to do so.

Time and history will eventually clarify the matter for all of us, and in the meantime, I am deeply interested in knowing how it goes over the long haul, say, 5-10 years, for those of you who are vaccinating your herds.

Thanks again, Dori, for weighing in.

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