Myxomatosis has increased by up to 300% in pet rabbits, according to the pet charity PDSA.
Romford and Hull reoprted the highest increases, but Birmingham and the South East have also seen dramatic increases in incidences of myxomatosis.
Myxomatosis can be transferred via fleas and direct contact with infected animals. Symptoms include swelling of the rabbit’s head and eyes.
PDSA Senior Veterinary Surgeon, Sean Wensley, said: ‘The effects of the myxomatosis virus are very distressing to witness and are usually fatal.
‘By the time clinical signs have developed, such as facial and genital swelling, it is often too late to be able to help affected rabbits.
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‘Myxomatosis is preventable through vaccination.’
Myxomatosis killed approximately 95% of the UK’s wild rabit population in the 1950s, and now, according to pet chairty PDSA, incidences of myxomatosis have increased by up to 300% in pet rabbits.
Rabbits are the UK’s third most popular pet, behind cats and dogs, with an estimated 1.6m owners.