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Rabbit and Bunny Vaccine Clinic

Amberglen Pet Care will be offering a Vaccine for Bunnies Clinic. We highly recommend that all rabbits and bunnies be vaccinates against Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus (RHDV).

Contact us for more information or schedule an appointment. 

What is Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus?
Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease (RHD) is a highly contagious viral disease that can affect both domestic and wild rabbit species. RHDV viruses are highly contagious with high mortality rates (up to 100%).  

It does not cause disease in humans or animals other than rabbits. It is caused by a Calicivirus, which can survive for weeks in the environment, and can be spread over short distances on objects such as articles of clothing, and therefore can be spread easily and rapidly.

Clinical Signs
Often the only clinical sign is sudden death. In less acute cases, clinical signs may include the following: dullness/apathy, not eating, ocular and/or nasal hemorrhage and congestion of the conjunctiva. Some may develop neurological signs such as incoordination, excitement, or seizure like episodes. Infections in young rabbits are usually sub-clinical and deaths are rare.

The virus is shed in feces and other body fluids. Transmission may occur directly from animal to animal through ingestion, inhalation, and mucous membranes. It may also spread indirectly by contaminated feed, water, clothing, equipment, waste, infected carcasses, and insects. Potentially predators and scavengers that consume infected rabbits could mechanically spread the virus or excrete it in feces. The virus is very hardy and capable of surviving for extended periods of time in the environment and is resistant to extreme temperatures. The incubation period is thought to be 3-9 days.

Domestic rabbits should be housed indoors if possible. Strict biosecurity should be practiced including cleaning and disinfecting cages and equipment; do not allow contact with other rabbits, wild or domestic; do not allow visitors in rabbitries or to handle rabbits, wear protective clothing (coveralls, shoe covers, gloves, etc.) when handling rabbits and change afterwards; control insects, birds, rodents and other animals that might serve as vectors and remove and properly dispose of carcasses promptly. 

Consult your local veterinarian if you experience sudden deaths or symptoms of RHD among your rabbits. It is difficult, if not impossible, to control the disease in the wild. Handling or moving sick wild rabbits or carcasses should be avoided, if possible, but if needed, follow good biosecurity including wearing protective clothing and cleaning and disinfection of tools and equipment.

Tips for Rabbit Owners

  • Talk to your veterinarian about appropriate disease control protocols, especially if you also hunt rabbits.
  • Wash hands before and after handling rabbits.
  • Keep unnecessary people from visiting or holding your rabbits.
  • Do not allow your rabbits on the ground outdoors. House them off the ground if they are kept in outbuildings.
  • Maximize insect and rodent control.
  • Feed pelleted feed or purchase forage from unaffected states.