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Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease

Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease
November 9, 2021

Rabbit owners may have heard of an emerging disease affecting rabbits called Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease.  RHD is a high contagious disease caused by a virus.  It is almost always fatal and there is currently no effective treatment once the disease is contracted.  It is spread by direct contact between rabbits and by exposed to secretions and/or blood of an infected rabbit.  It can also be brought in to a home via contaminated shoes and clothing on people.  The virus is currently only been found in the southwestern area of the United States and east of the Rockies but it could be making its way further east in the future.  There is no evidence to suggest that this virus can be passed among other species of animals.

This news can be very intimidating for rabbit owners but there is a bit of good news.  Medgene has developed a vaccination against Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease.  It is currently recommended for all pet rabbits.  An initial vaccine is given, followed by a booster in 3 weeks.  Then the vaccine should be given yearly.  AHOV is working to secure an ample supply of the vaccination.  Please give the clinic a call at (608) 845-6700 to schedule an appointment.  The first vaccine will be performed with a veterinarian to perform a physical exam, discuss any concerns, and give the first vaccination.  The second vaccine, given 3 weeks later, can be scheduled with one our Certified Veterinary Technicians and will not include an exam fee.  You can visit https://rabbit.org/what-is-rabbit-hemorrhagic-disease/ for more information about this emerging illness.