Here a story about Myxomatosis and how it affects pet bunnies and their owners all over Australia:

We live in the Perth Hills on a 2 1/2 acre property with our beloved and spoilt animals – 3 horses – 3 dogs – 3 cats and we had 8 pet bunnies.

The bunnies were living in a “bunny proof” outside enclosure during the day, where they could run and play, at night the were looked up in their rabbit hutches. Perfect life for a bunny, we thought!!!Perfect until about 3 weeks ago, when bunny “Crystal” started to sneeze and getting red eyes. Took her to the Vet the same day, Antibiotic, Anti-inflammatory, Eye drops, special food, keep her separate from the others and give her lots of TLC. After we had her organised at home, we checked on our other bunnies again, one more “Foxy Lady” showed the same symptoms, of to the Vet again. Same treatment, recommendation.

After lots of intensive care they both survived the first night. The next day they started to have problems with their breathing. Towards the evening poor little Foxy lost her premature babies and bled out. The next day Crystal’s breathing got so bad that we took her to the Vet and had to put her to sleep. The Vet by that time warned us, that the bunnies would probably all die. The next day we had the next patient, Angelina, one of the bunnies we hand raised when their Mum didn’t want them anymore. A few hours later her brother Elvis got sick as well. Same drill, off to the Vet. My daughter and I were running a 24 hour intensive-care unit for bunnies. These two sibling survived a bit longer, as they were big bunnies. In the meantime we had one more sick bunny “Manfred” a cashmere dwarf loop bunny, his eyes were sooo red and swollen. At the Murdoch Emergency Vet clinic, they changed the medication and gave us new hope. About 15 minutes after we got home from Murdoch, Angelina died.

By this time my daughter, I and our Golden Retriever Douglas were so depressed and just a heap of sobbing sorrow. Just before Easter we were at the end of our possibilities and we sent the two remaining bunnies, Elvis and Manfred to our Vet to spend the Easter, we were exhausted. Unfortunately even with the intensive care at our Vet, both of them died before Easter was over.

The other two pictures their grave on our property. What used to be my Fairy Garden, is now a mass grave for our beloved bunnies.

The Australian Government does not allow the vaccine against this horrific deadly disease to be used for our pets. In other countries it is allowed eg. UK.(Editor’s note – this is a very odd state of affairs as a vaccine is available for the more recently developed Calici virus.  We understand the argument that since the vaccines are live, immunity could spread from the domestic rabbit population to the wild population…. but then why allow one vaccine and not the other?)

60 years ago the CSIRO released this deadly virus into the environment to kill the wild bunnies. 60 years later, over 50% of the wild rabbit population is immune against the virus. Unfortunately our pet rabbits have absolute no immunity against it, which means the death sentence for them. It is a terrible death, they swell up around the eyes, ears, nose and genitals. They get pneumonia, crusty nose, etc. The disease is transferred by Mozzies, fleas etc..

There is a Myxomatosis Hotline on Face book, where lots of affected bunny pet owners have registered the death of their bunnies, it is nation wide a huge problem.

There is a petition out there as well for the release of this vaccine in Australia.

What happened to human and animal rights – Australia is always very quick to point fingers at other countries cruelties against animals – what about this –

I have written numerous emails to the Departments of Agriculture, the CSIRO, Animal Australia and and and ,,,,,,,,,nobody is responsible “Its out of our hands” is the most popular answer.

R.I.P Crystal – a beautiful girl, light brown, with dark ears, legs and nose. She was only 7 months old. Foxy Lady – our little redhead, dwarf loop, as well. She was pregnant and about 8 months old. Angelina – a big white and grey bunny, very gentle and cuddly. She never experienced her first birthday either. Manfred – a white and grey Cashmere dwarf loop, beautiful long fur, very curious and playful. He was not even 6 months old. Elvis – Angelina’s brother, the most gentle giant which used to look after the new little bunnies we got. He never celebrated his first birthday either.

We are heartbroken, frustrated and very angry and so are lots of other pet owners all over Australia. DISGUSTED

Article by Esther Sterndale