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805.658.7387

4547 Telephone Rd., Ste A, Ventura, CA 93003 (map) info@ohanapethospital.com

805.933.1341

957 Faulkner Road, Suite 101, Santa Paula, CA 93060 (map) infosp@ohanapethospital.com

Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus (RHDV)

November 5, 2020

For our bunny loving clients –

There is a devastating virus called ‘Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus’ that has appeared in the US this year. Recent outbreaks in 2020 have been discovered in the wild cottontail and jack rabbit populations throughout Arizona the desert communities of Southern California, such as San Bernardino County. There are no current reports in Ventura County, however, we advise rabbit owners to be vigilant and highly consider vaccinating their pet.

Symptoms may include:

Loss of appetite

Lethargy

Seizures

Bleeding from the mouth, nose or rectum

Difficulty breathing

Sudden unexplained death has also been reported.

The virus is transmitted from direct contact with other infected rabbits, blood-feeding insects, or contact with objects like clothing or equipment that have been contaminated with the feces of infected bunnies. This virus does not affect people or other animals.

The HOUSE RABBIT SOCIETY website is an excellent source of information on this disease. You can find more information at their website: CLICK HERE

Pet rabbits should be kept indoors as much as possible. Any potential contact with wild rabbit feces should be avoided, including on the bottoms of owners’ shoes. For example, in Ventura, the area around Kimball pool has a lot of wild cotton tails. So, if rabbit owners are walking around that area, they should take off their shoes and clean them before they come inside the house where their bunny runs about. Owners should also remove and clean their shoes after going on local nature trail hikes. Disinfecting the soles of shoes with a 10% diluted household bleach solution may help to reduce the spread of infection. Washing hands after being outside and removing shoes before interacting with your pet bunny is another good safety measure.

There is a vaccine that is available and is protective against the virus. Currently it is not widely available in this area. However, BUNS, a bunny rescue in Santa Barbara has periodic vaccine clinics. The cost of the vaccine is $30.00. Interested owners can contact BUNS at (805) 683-0521 or at info@bunssb.org and can be put on an email list to be notified when the next vaccine clinic will be held. There are a few local veterinary hospitals that intermittently have the vaccine available.

Please call us if you have any questions about this disease or are interested in getting your pet rabbit vaccinated against the Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease. We want to keep our bunny patients healthy and happy!

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