Dear Goodison Veterinary Families,
We’re reaching out to share some important information for those of you with rabbits. Specifically, this pertains to rabbit hemorrhagic disease and the newly available vaccine. Please feel free to forward this to other rabbit owners to help spread the word and keep rabbits safe.
Rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus type 2 (RHDV2) is spreading across our country. This is a highly contagious and fatal virus of rabbits affecting both wild and domestic rabbits. EVEN INDOOR RABBITS ARE AT RISK.
The virus is spread in urine, feces, blood, milk, saliva, and mucus so transmission occurs when rabbits come into contact with an infected animal or body fluids from an infected animal. Unfortunately, it can also be spread more broadly by flies and other insects, indoor/outdoor pets, food, water, hands, clothes, shoes, car tires, or any other contaminated item.
Infected animals often die rapidly without any sign of illness. Other signs of rabbit hemorrhagic disease can include lethargy, fever, decreased appetite, yellowing of the skin, neurological signs such as wobbliness or seizures, bleeding from body openings, and/or difficulty breathing.
At this time, there is no cure. Prevention is therefore a top priority. The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) has authorized a new RHDV2 vaccine to protect domestic rabbits.
We recommend that pet rabbits receive this vaccine and will be organizing RHDV2 vaccine clinics. Due to the limited shelf life of the vaccine multi-dose vials, we will only be able to administer these vaccines on specific days. The schedule will be coordinated once we have a better understanding of how many rabbits will be vaccinated.
***If you want your rabbit to receive this vaccine (two doses administered three weeks apart), please call us at 248-650-5900 so we can determine how much vaccine to order and include you in future communications regarding scheduling. Please be aware that examination will be required at the time of initial vaccination.
Information regarding the vaccine can be found at the website of Medgene Labs.
For further information regarding RHDV2, including other preventive measures you can take to help keep your rabbit safe, please review the factsheet provided by the United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA APHIS).
Additional information can also be found on the USDA’s website.
Again, please call us at 248-650-5900 if you want your rabbit to get this vaccine or if we may be of assistance in any other way. Thank you!
Your Goodison Vet Team