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Warning: keep pet bunny vaccinations up to date

Mikaela Day, March 1, 2017 6:00PM Herald Sun

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RABBIT owners should check they are up to date with their bunnies’ vaccinations as the Australian Government gets set to release a rabbit-control virus* next month.

A new type of the RHDV1 K5 virus will be will released across 150 sites in Victoria and 600 nationally to help control the numbers of wild rabbits. The virus also has the potential* to kill domestic rabbits.

Small animal vet and spokesman for Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) Dr Mark Reeve said the virus is fatal* and can work within 24-48 hours.

New virus could kill pet rabbits media_cameraBrittany Crawford shares her CBD apartment with two rabbits, Napoleon and Elvis. Pets should be vaccinated against the new virus. Picture: Eugene Hyland

“Studies show that the old vaccinations are still relevant but the new recommendations are to have your rabbit vaccinated every six months whereas before it was every 12 months,” he said.

“The disease is spread by biting flies, fleas and mosquitos, but if you are seeing your vet regularly your pet’s vaccinations should be up to date.”

A government spokesman from the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources said a similar strain* was released in 1996 and killed 90 per cent of the wild rabbit population in parts of Australia.

“Wild rabbits are Australia’s most destructive agricultural pest animal, costing upwards of $200 million in lost agricultural production annually,” he said.

“RHDV1 K5 has the potential to impact on all rabbits, domestic and pest, across Australia.

“Vaccination is the best method to protect domestic pet rabbits against the virus.”

To ensure your rabbit is protected, the AVA recommends an external* parasite treatment as well as insect netting for outdoor rabbits or keeping your rabbits inside.

“Rabbits can be toilet trained much more easily than cats,” Dr Reeve said.


virus: a type of disease

potential: possibility

fatal: kills

strain: version

external: outside the body; on the skin



Activity 1: Asking the right questions

Imagine that you are a radio host who is about to interview a veterinarian about the rabbit virus. You only have a limited amount of time, so you can only ask three questions but need to make sure your listeners will get all of the important information they need. Write down what your three questions would be.

Extension: Join up with a partner and take turns to ask and answer each other’s interview questions.

Time: allow 15 minutes to complete this task

Curriculum links: English

Activity 2: What a pest!

Wild rabbits aren’t the only animals that are considered pests in Australia. When an animal is introduced to a new habitat they can often cause destruction to other animals, plants and the land. Make a mind map of at least five animals you can think of that were introduced to Australia, then do some research to find out one problem caused by each of them.

Extension: Choose one of the animals on your list and find out when, how and why it was introduced to Australia.

Extra Resources: Computer with internet or books for researching

Time: allow 30 minutes to complete this task

Curriculum links: English, Science, History

VCOP Activity

(Vocabulary, Connectives, Openers, Punctuation)

Word Association

This is a tricky challenge. You need to write about a topic using a specific pattern. In this pattern, you must write down words that are associated with the one before it.

For example, if you had to write a paragraph about a dog, it would look like this:

Dog fur bark loudly sleep run chase bound leap slobber spit lick whimper howl hungry food sniff smell

You can see, using words that are all associated to a Dog enables us to create a bank of words.

Your challenge is to write a group of words that associate with the following topics:

— Rabbit

— Virus

— Australia

— Insect

— Pets

This is a tricky challenge! Try working with a partner or choose a topic of your own.

Time: allow about 20 minutes to complete this task

Curriculum links: English, Big Write, VCOP

Activity supplied by Andrell Education






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