RHDV1 K5 is a variant of the strain of RHDV1 already used in Australia. RHDV1 K5 is not a new type of virus. There is a vaccine (Cylap®) for prevention of RHDV1 disease that has been available in Australia since 1996.
Prior to registering RHDV1 K5 for use in wild rabbit control, a NSW Department of Primary Industries validation study through the Invasive Animals CRC examined the vaccine for suitability in protecting domestic and production rabbits from RHDV1 K5. This experiment compared the mortality of a small number of vaccinated and unvaccinated rabbits that were subsequently infected with a high dose of RHDV1 K5.
All of the rabbits vaccinated with the currently available vaccine survived the infection with RHDV1 K5. None of the unvaccinated rabbits survived.
This experiment indicates that the currently registered vaccine is likely to protect pet rabbits against RHDV1 K5.
Read more about the evidence behind vaccine efficacy:
As per their website, The AVA recommends that rabbits are vaccinated against RHDV (calicivirus) as follows:
- Kittens: 4, 8, 12 weeks of age, then 6 monthly for life.
- Adults: 2 vaccinations 1 month apart, then 6 monthly for life.
- Cylap® vaccine product page (Zoetis Australia)
- Cylap® vaccine material safety data sheet
- The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease Virus (calicivirus)
- RSPCA Australia knowledgebase – What is RHD and how do I protect my rabbit from it?
- AVA Rabbit Calicivirus