Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease (RHDV2) is a highly contagious and fatal calicivirus that affects both pet and wild rabbits. This deadly virus can cause rapid death with minimal warning, leading to symptoms such as fever, lethargy, internal bleeding, and organ failure. As of April 2022, RHDV2 has been detected in wild rabbits across several states, including New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, Colorado, California, Nevada, Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, and Oregon.
Common symptoms of RHDV2 may include:
- Loss of appetite (inappetence)
- Weakness or unsteady movement
- Nose or mouth bleeding
- Difficulty breathing
To safeguard your rabbit against RHDV2, it is crucial to utilize a combination of vaccination, indoor housing, and proper sanitation measures.
We offer the Rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus type 2 (RHDV2) vaccine. Let's discuss the importance of vaccination!
Vaccination stands as the most effective means of protecting your rabbit from RHDV2. Initially developed in France, the first RHDV2 vaccine received permission for importation by the United States government until a domestically produced vaccine was made available. In late 2021, the USDA granted emergency use authorization for a vaccine developed by EverVet. The EverVet RHDV2 vaccine is an inactivated or killed recombinant subunit protein vaccine that generates immunity against RHDV2-specific antigenic proteins in rabbits. This vaccine regimen involves two doses, with the second dose administered 21 days after the initial vaccination.
Additionally, here are some other precautions you can take to safeguard your rabbit:
- Rinse all greens thoroughly before feeding them to your rabbit.
- Avoid foraging for greens in your yard, as plants from the surroundings may carry the virus.
- Whenever possible, keep your rabbit indoors, allowing limited outdoor enrichment for only 30 minutes a day, while ensuring secure fences.
- Consider removing shoes indoors or using a separate pair to minimize potential exposure.
- Feed hay that has been harvested at least 105 days prior. If you purchase relatively fresh hay, store it for 3-4 months to reduce risks before feeding. Store the hay indoors in breathable containers, such as cardboard boxes, to prevent mold growth. Pre-packaged hay that is at least 3 months past harvest is likely safe.
- Disinfect all items, including toys, bedding, and enclosures, before giving them to your rabbit.
- If you have other pets, be cautious about washing their paws with soapy water and prevent them from accessing the same areas as your rabbit.
Schedule your EverVet RHDV2 vaccine appointment today and protect your rabbit's health!