BACKGROUND: A novel bivalent vaccine to protect against myxomatosis and rabbit haemorrhagic disease is commercially available for pet rabbits.
HYPOTHESIS/OBJECTIVES: To describe the appearance of cutaneous lesions arising in pet rabbits positive for myxoma virus (MV) by RT-PCR evaluation shortly after vaccination.
ANIMALS: Four pet rabbits presenting with papular, crusting skin lesions ~10 days after vaccination.
METHODS: Histological evaluation of formalin-fixed skin biopsies obtained from lesional skin (case 1). Real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) evaluation of paraffin-embedded tissue from skin biopsies (case 1) and crusts obtained from the lesion surface (cases 2-4) for myxoma virus are reported as cycle threshold (Ct ) values.
RESULTS: Lesions affecting the ear pinna, dorsal aspect of the nose, vulva and/or conjunctiva are reported. Histopathological findings included severe ulcerative, necrotizing dermatitis and intralesional cytoplasmic inclusion bodies in myxoma cells. DNA was amplified from all the paraffin-embedded skin biopsies (Ct = 34-35) and crusts (Ct = 20-24).
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL IMPORTANCE: Although a wild virus challenge cannot be definitively excluded, veterinarians and pet-owners should be aware that cutaneous lesions have been observed after vaccination with this novel vaccine in low numbers of rabbits.