Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Bunny Killer; Myxomatosis on Rise in Region

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Bunny Killer; Myxomatosis on Rise in Region

Article excerpt

Byline: By AMY HUNT Environment Reporter

A DEADLY plague which wiped out most of Britain's wild rabbits in the 1950s has struck the North East.

Vets have seen a sharp rise in the number of cases of myxomatosis.

And they are urging animal lovers to get their pets vaccinated against the virus, which causes the animals to stop eating and swell up.

Three weeks ago, 15 rabbits in the Pets' Corner enclosure at Gateshead's Saltwell Park died from myxomatosis and another 25 had to be vaccinated against the disease.

The area had to be quarantined.

Now Blyth-based Croft Vets is warning owners to get their rabbits vaccinated.

Many assume it is only wild rabbits which catch the disease, but since myxomatosis is spread by fleas, it can be transferred to pet rabbits.

Around 300 rabbits a year are vaccinated at Croft, but vets think as many as two thirds of rabbit owners do not know about the danger of myxomatosis.

About 30 cases of myxomatosis were seen in October, but owners only knew about the disease in about 20% of these cases. …

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