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A Virus Targeting Rabbits Possibly On The Way To The Bay Area. Here’s How You Can Protect Your Pet Rabbits From It

Photo courtesy of Alpha Media Library

The Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus (RHDV) is a new rabbit virus that is making its way across the country.

It can be lethal to both domestic and wild rabbits, however it is not a threat to other pets and humans.

Fortunately, Larissa Church, of the House Rabbit Society in Richmond, has offered some guidelines to help protect your rabbits during these unsure times:

  • Keep your rabbit indoors and don’t let it mingle with rabbits outside the home.
  • Rabbits can’t spread the disease to humans, but humans can spread it to rabbits, so wash your hands thoroughly before and after handling the animals.
  • Disinfect items that may be contaminated, just as you are doing now to protect against COVID-19.
  • Mosquitoes and flies can transmit the virus, so make sure you have door and window screens in place.
  • Know where your hay and feed sources are coming from, and avoid any from an outbreak area.
  • Do not use foraged plants, grasses or tree branches as feed.
  • If you get a new rabbit, quarantine it for at least 14 days.
  • Keep dogs on leashes while outside so they do not interact with wild rabbits, alive or dead, and wash their paws before going back inside.
  • Block dog access to areas where your rabbit lives or exercises.
  • Keep cats indoors to prevent them from bringing the virus back home.
  • Use a monthly flea treatment for rabbits, cats and dogs.
  • Talk to your vet about getting your rabbit vaccinated. The vaccine, which is not widely available, won’t prevent all infections, but it will increase the chance of survival.

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