We are currently monitoring reports of a viral outbreak in wild rabbits in the Southwest United States. New to North America, rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV) is a fatal viral disease found in rabbits: it does not affect humans or domestic species other than rabbits. While there is potential for spread throughout California, there are no reports of cases within the Central Valley at this time. Symptoms of the disease can include loss of appetite, lethargy, high fever, and spasms. However, we are concerned and want to provide you rabbit caretakers with some information to help keep your bunny companions safe.

Is there a vaccination available?

Currently, a vaccine is not widely available in the United States, nor does Central Valley meet the criteria for importing European vaccines. Here at VMA, we are staying abreast of the latest information on vaccine criteria and availability and are continuing to work with regulatory agencies, working to receive special permission to import European vaccines in the event we meet the criteria.

How can I protect my rabbit?

We encourage the practice of basic biosecurity measures, such as hand washing and changing clothes/removing shoes once returning home, to help prevent potential spread to your pet rabbits. We also recommend keeping your bunnies indoors, with no outdoor playtime. 

Can my other pets catch this virus?

This disease is not known to affect any species other than rabbits and hares. In an abundance of caution, however, keeping your dog or cat from contact with wild rabbits will also help keep your companion bunnies safe. 

VMA will continue to keep you updated on the latest information about the RHDV spread and how you can protect your rabbit at vma@vmamodesto.com and our Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/vmamodestoca

And if you have any questions or concerns about your companion rabbit, please call us at 209-527-5855.