URGENT: Rabbit Hemorrhagic Viral Disease Virus 2 (RHDV2)
Important Information Please Read
This is especially important to all rabbit caretakers who let their rabbits outside at any point in time. Rabbit Hemorrhagic Viral Disease is coming our way, the number one way to protect your rabbit-family members is to keep them inside 24/7. RHDV2 is HIGHLY contagious, and invisible, you will not know when your area has been infected and you will not be able to keep it out of your yard, so be safe instead of sorry.
We know that dealing with ANOTHER highly infectious, invisible yet very dangerous threat is the last thing anyone wants to deal with, but we don’t have a choice. RHDV2 has been confirmed in Northeast Texas and its just a matter of time before it reaches our area.
Rabbit Hemorrhagic Viral Disease: What You Need to Know
There have been no new confirmations of Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus 2 (RHDV2) in Texas domestic rabbits since April 22, 2020.
The Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) was first notified of the presence of RHDV2 on a Hockley County premises on April 10, 2020. Since then, only 2 additional domestic rabbit premises in El Paso County have been confirmed with RHDV2.
To date, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) has confirmed RHDV2 in the wild rabbit population in Hudspeth and Lubbock Counties.
The TAHC will send out official RHDV2 updates if any new confirmations are received in the domestic rabbit population.
What is RHDV2?
RHDV2 is a fatal, viral disease that affects both domestic and wild rabbits, including hares, jackrabbits and cottontails. It does not affect human health or affect other animal species.
The highly contagious foreign animal disease spreads between rabbits through contact with infected rabbits or carcasses, their meat or fur, contaminated food or water, or materials coming in contact with them. RHDV2 can persist in the environment for a very long time. These factors make disease control efforts extremely challenging once it is in the wild rabbit populations.
Practice Good Biosecurity
As an animal caretaker, you know the importance of practicing good biosecurity. Use these helpful tips to decrease the likelihood of disease in your rabbits.
Keep A Distance – maintain boundaries between your rabbits and other rabbits. That means Keep Your Rabbits Indoors. We know it’s beautiful and sunny right now, but its not worth the risk. Your rabbits will thank you for your precautions.
Keep Things Clean – routinely disinfect all areas and equipment.
Keep A Watch – monitor your rabbits’ health closely.
For more tips, download the TAHC Rabbit Biosecurity Guide
A Message From White Rock Veterinary Hospital
RHDV2 is a reportable infectious viral disease of rabbits that has been recently found in wild and domestic rabbits in some southern states in the US, including at least one case reported in west Texas. Check out the informative video from Oxbow Animal Health, featuring veterinarian Dr. Micah Kohles, for a comprehensive summary of the disease. Please know that there are currently no licensed vaccines commercially available in the United States but White Rock Veterinary Hospital and Exotic Pet Care is working with the Texas Animal Health Commission and other Texas veterinarians toward the possibility of importing European vaccines. We will keep you updated on our progress. In the meantime, practice good hygiene by frequent and rigorous hand-washing, limiting contact with unknown rabbits, and removing shoes in the house. At this time, we do not recommend taking your pet rabbits outside for playtime, and we highly recommend bringing outdoor rabbits indoors for permanent housing.
Please contact White Rock at 512-670-5400 if you have any concerns with your rabbit’s health and report to us immediately if you become aware of any suspicious rabbit deaths. You can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with non urgent questions.