Pet rabbits in Tasmania appear to be dying of calicivirus in higher rates, Mowbray Vet Clinic veterinarian Sally-Anne Richter said.
"Definitely speaking to the representatives from the pet crematorium, they said they've had a lot of rabbits coming through with suspected calicivirus ... so I'd say there's a spike happening at the moment," she said.
The calicivirus was originally a virus released into wild rabbit populations to reduce their numbers and help native plants and animals recover from the effect of the invasive animal species.
There is a vaccine for this strain of calicivirus. However, a new strain, called RHDV2, arrived in Australia in 2015. There is no vaccine for this strain, which is the one killing pet rabbits in Tasmania this year.
A DPIPWE spokesperson said it was not known how this strain arrived in Tasmania.
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"RHDV2 has never been released in Tasmania by the state government or any other statutory authority," they said.
"There are vaccines marketed in Europe and New Zealand, however, their use in Australia is not approved by the Australian Pesticides & Veterinary Medicines Authority."
Rabbit breeder Mandy Kidd said she only has four rabbits left, after losing nine to the calicivirus in the past three and a half months.
"I have friends who have also lost theirs - vaccinated ones, and little babies under six weeks old," she said.
"I decided to make a Facebook post warning people about it, and it's amazing how many people commented saying they'd lost rabbits, from all over Launceston.
"You can't do anything. I'm down to four rabbits, after 22 years of breeding...it's devastating."
Ms Richter said there is no cure for the calicivirus. Owners can lower the risk by minimising their rabbits' interactions with wild rabbits and other wild animals by keeping them in secure double-fenced enclosures, frequently cleaning and disinfecting enclosures, and wearing a specific set of shoes and clothing to interact with their rabbits.
Keeping them indoors minimises the risk of catching the virus, but, "You just need to make sure you're still giving them enough hiding places, with toys and tunnels in the house," she said.