3rd July 2021 - Blog entry three 

RHD2  outbreak February 2021 


So where do i start telling you about this... it is by far the worst experience i have had working with rabbits, and i have seen some horrible things in my experience with rabbits and other pets . It was absolutely devastating and the most heartbreaking period of  time. It all started on a normal morning , my first job of the day is to clean and feed all the bunnies ready for the new day, i have two bunny areas , outside i keep all my adults and inside i have my mum and baby area. I have never been more grateful that i have them separated , after i had cleaned and fed all my mums ( three i had inside at the time ) , i continued to my outside buns, straight away i saw Molly who was a chocolate otter doe i had kept back from Maia's litter she was 11 weeks old, she was laying on her side flat, i felt the dread i always feel when i see a bunny flopped over. Its more often than not just them sleeping flopped over just to give me heart palpitations but this wasn't that , she had passed. She had been absolutely fine the day before , she was such a massive goof ball and we had been laughing so hard at her antics as usual , i was devastated , she is such a loss. I instinctively ran up to my husband who was working and in tears told him Molly is gone. You would think i would handle it better honestly but it does not get easier to lose an animal that you have cared for, loved and got to know so well, He came down with me as astonished as i was that she had gone. Then it only got worse ... 


I looked at the other hutches and couldn't see Maude who was being housed with Maurice , she was pregnant with his first litter, so i opened the bed expecting she would be hiding in there, she had also passed. My heart was racing, all my worst fears coming true, its a breeders worst nightmare. I then realised that i couldn't see Maverick either, i felt so sick at this point, internally begging that he will be ok , that his little nose will greet me when i open it up, but it was unusual for him to go in there, i just prayed please let it be something else random. But no he was also passed, it hurt , it really hurt, he was an incredibly sweet bunny and had produced the most amazing babies. I couldn't stand anymore. We checked everyone else and noticed that Maeve although alive was flopped over and her breathing was laboured , she was in the process of passing , she was the daughter of Maggie and Maverick she was around 6 months old and she was he spitting image of her daddy. we sat with her while she passed. I was already in tatters , watching her die was horrific , not only is RHD2 a killer , the death is so unkind. We had lost 4 rabbits in one morning, all in different hutches too. The dread of what is to come hit me so hard , we are going to lose them all was all i could think. I honestly didn't think i could go through it. 


We started checking the rabbits constantly, heart racing every time, i can see all the hutches from my lounge which only made me sit watching them obsessively waiting for any sign that there could be something wrong. I ordered loads of  Virkon and new equipment so i could keep inside and outside completely separate, new buckets, dustpans, cleaning supplies, i had to protect as many as i could. It's so scary to not know how it comes in, we know it can come in many ways, through flies, the wind, wildlife, on contaminated hay or food. We had not brought in a new bunny in 6 months so we knew it hadn't come in that way. Our adults were all due their booster vaccines, and all of the keepers and younger adults had not had their vaccines, this will always be my biggest regret , Covid had made taking rabbits to the vets on mass so difficult so we waited , obviously this was a grave mistake and one i will never be repeating. 


I had two mums with litters and another mum due the next day, the fear that they could already be exposed or that i would expose them, i began the military operation of not allowing anyone into the bunnies inside area. When i went outside i completely undressed, showered and disinfected everything in our utility area, which was the middle ground between the inside and outside areas. This went on for four months , it drove my family mad honestly, i was so scared we would carry it in , i just could not take the chance of losing my mums and their beautiful babies.


On the evening of the first day , we did one last check before we went to bed, we were out with flash lights in the rain checking the remaining bunnies, we found Maurice passed in the exact place we had found Maude earlier that day. Another thunder bolt blow, its so strange you try to convince yourself it might not be RHD it might be something else, what if a fox or a loud noise scared them? What if it's just some random coincidence? I knew deep down this wasn't the case but i guess i was trying to live in hope that i wouldn't lose anymore. 


The next morning i couldn't face checking, we had both been down in the middle of the night  , but we didn't lose anymore not all day, i was so low and stressed but also so happy that we had made it 24 hours with no deaths , what a horrible bench mark for a good day! Then the next day came and we woke up, the same dread feeling comes over you, its the worst feeling to go out feeling like you could be faced with the same massacre. But we had no new deaths again, it always felt so nice but the fear was never gone, what about when you checked in an hour, what about then. That evening again on last check before bed we found Genevieve she had passed. She was the happiest bunny , her face was always so happy to see you. I miss her so much , each loss is a piece of our family leaving a big hole , no two rabbits are ever the same so that personality can never be replaced. I was again left devastated. 


We went another 24 hours with no deaths , then the day after like some screwed up deja vu , we watched Gus our beloved Mini lop buck pass, he was living out his retirement with Flora, Ellie and Rosie my spayed girls. He died in the middle of the day and we unfortunately had to witness another horrific death, while my daughter Esmee sobbed as he was her favourite. The death takes so long and it's just horrific to watch, Flora and the girls made me so proud they stayed with him throughout , kissing him and sat right next to him. I constantly live in awe of the love rabbits show to each other. They are incredible animals who are so much more intelligent than they are often giving credit for, they love so hard and also grieve the losses too. 


By this point we had lost seven beautiful buns, we had seven left outside, i couldn't stand anymore but of the seven that were left six had had vaccines although due the boosters so the fear remained, Gilbert was the last bunny unvaccinated , i prayed he would just survive it, he would be the exception. We lost him exactly a week later, i was beginning to feel optimistic that he would make it, i had done everything i can to keep him from being exposed, even though i had no idea how to do that as he was outside with all the others. i worked so hard but to no avail. Eight of my gorgeous rabbits gone. I felt and still feel a massive hole with them gone, i felt so lucky to have my mums and babies that had remained completely unaffected and i was so proud i had managed it, although still living in constant fear that i would slip up, make a mistake. 


Once the babies were all at least 30 days old we vaccinated everyone, all 28 bunnies we had at the time. We took a different approach this time and trained to self vaccinate , so now we will never miss a dose, all my babies will be vaccinated before leaving and any new additions are vaccinated and quarantined before entering the main population, its doesn't guarantee me no losses again but it will give us the best chance to keep going. I seriously considered quitting , over and over again. It was my love for them and the joy that owning them brings me , i feel honoured everyday that i get to care for and love these incredible creatures, and i did not want to be defeated by a virus. So much of our lives have been controlled by Covid i couldn't let another virus take this part of my life, so i vowed to carry on. We carried on the cleaning regime every day, i carried on changing and showering every time i touched a rabbit or equipment outside for months and months, i still now have separate equipment and disinfect the common areas. 


We had to replace, disinfect and paint all our hutches also which to say was labour of love is an understatement , i single handedly painted all fifteen hutches inside and out, three coats of paints on each. It took me weeks and weeks, the month of rain we got in May was no help whatsoever , but i am very proud they look amazing and feels like the fresh start we needed. 


We are now on the other side , we have new faces and some of the old ones which i am so eternally grateful for, i miss all my beautiful buns every day , i will remember them forever , and they will always be such an important part of our story. 


Moral to this story is vaccinate vaccinate vaccinate !!!!!! 


Thank you for taking the time to read this and for all the love i felt from all my customers during the darkest time . 


Below is the eight beautiful faces we lost , RIP Molly, Maude, Maverick , Maeve, Maurice, Genevieve , Gus and Gilbert x 

4th November 2019 - Blog entry two

RHD2 / VHD2

There are two strains of rabbit haemorrhagic disease (RHD),  or viral haemorrhagic disease (VHD) , and both of them are highly contagious they unfortunately have few to no symptoms and are fatal in most cases. The second, and most recent, strain of the disease, RHD2, is affecting more and more pet rabbits in the UK . Two of my lovely customers unfortunately lost five gorgeous bunnies between them over a 3 day period. It's heartbreaking, so I am recommending that anyone that owns a pet rabbit has them vaccinated against both strains of this deadly virus, it's the only way to truly protect them. 

 The RHD2 virus is spread very easily between rabbits and on surfaces, clothing and shoes. If a rabbit owner is unaware that their pet has the virus, it will continue to spread rapidly. There is an incubation period of three to nine days, during which time the virus is already highly contagious. Keeping a strict routine not wearing shoes in the house , not holding bunnies unless you have clean hands and clean clothes, also same rules for all visitors that wish to interact with your rabbits. 

The symptoms they can exhibit are lack of appetite, lethargy, fever and spasms, but these are very rare , most cases unfortunately end in sudden death. 

If you have any questions or need help deciding where to get your bunnies vaccinated as always I am very happy to help. 


RIP Cappy, Snowy , Fleur , Frosty and Bella I know that are missed terribly by your families 


1st September 2019 - Blog entry one

Our Peter 

My first blog is about our Peter , he unfortunately passed away in January 2019 from gut statisis. He was a very loved member of the family, he was the Dad too Ellie, Rosie , Harry and Jasmine. It has felt like a massive loss to our lives no longer having him with us. 


We took on Peter at the request of a friend who no longer felt they had the time to give him, this was on September 1st 2017, two years today. So we actually only owned him for around 18 months, but he made such a massive impact on us, we all can't believe that it was such a small amount of time he was with us. We were never sure of his age as I believe his previous owners had rescued him from less than ideal circumstances, it's so incredible what a gentle little man he was. He absolutely loved Flora ad would spend his time rubbing his chin on her hutch , making sure all other suitors knew she was his but the feeling was mutual she absolutely adored him too. They made a very handsome couple. 


Peter had a very special bond with my middle child Esmeé, she is quite unpredictable and not as calm as my eldest so most of the rabbits run in the opposite direction when she approaches them, but Peter was always happy to let her cuddle him, carry him and everything in-between as is proven with the amount of pictures we have of them together. They truly were soul mates. 


He will always stay with us in memory and we will never ever forget him , we will forever miss you Dear Peter.Below are some pics of him hope you enjoy them.


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