Sadly every year we receive calls from the general public saying they have spotted a rabbit with very swollen crusty eyes, sitting at the side of the road, and what should they do. Myxomatosis is a virus that Is specific to rabbits, and very rarely affects hares. The virus is carried on the mouth part of blood-sucking insects, most often the rabbit flea, and is usually fatal within a few weeks.
Once infected with the virus, pus filled swellings will appear on the rabbit's eyelids, nose and at the base of its ears. This poor animal then becomes totally incapacitated as it can no longer see or hear. Many of these rabbits are caught by predators, or killed on our roads, helping to prevent them from suffering a long and painful death. Therefore, if you should find a rabbit affected with this horrible disease, our advice is ALWAYS get the poor animal to your nearest vet, where it can be painlessly put to sleep.