Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease is a highly contagious viral disease of both wild and domesticated rabbits. There have been sporadic outbreaks in the last few years but recently there has been a serious outbreak in BC and now it’s starting in Alberta.
The disease is spread by direct contact with live or dead animals as well as by fomites. Fomites can be food, food bowls, bedding, brushes, shoes, clothing, car tires, etc. Insects, rodents, birds and flies can all spread the virus as well.
- Rabbits usually die within 12-16 hours of developing the disease.
- Signs can vary from a terminal squeal and death to lethargy, fever, dullness, not eating, red eyes, blood from the nose and trouble breathing.
- Neurological signs can include incoordination, excitement, paddling, head tilted skyward, rabbits may flip rapidly on their sides resembling a convulsion.
- Some animals may survive longer and develop weight loss, jaundice (yellow tinge to skin and mouth tissues), lethargy and die within 2-3 weeks.
To protect your rabbit you should avoid all contact with other rabbits, both feral and domesticated, do not go to shoes or take your rabbit outside. Do not share feed, feed bowls, grooming tools, etc with other owners. Restrict access to your rabbit by caregivers. Practice good hygiene.
We are currently looking to source the vaccine, please give us a call at 403-253-7044 for more information.
Please view this handout from the Calgary Humane Society.