Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Ontario

Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Ontario: Since then, the OMAFRA has issued a public alert and published guidance for both veterinarians and rabbit owners. Rabbit hemorrhagic Disease has been discovered in pet rabbits in Lambton County, Ontario. This is a situation that is both startling and predictable because the highly contagious rabbit virus is already established in at least 21 US states and two Canadian provinces (Alberta and BC), thus the main uncertainty was when (and how) it would reach Ontario.

Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Ontario

What causes rabbit hemorrhagic Disease?

the virus responsible for rabbit hemorrhagic fever (RHDV). We are specifically working with RHDV2.

The following species are vulnerable to RHDV2 infection:

Unlike many other viral names (yes, monkeypox, I’m talking to you), this one accurately describes its actual hosts. Only domestic and wild rabbits and hares serve as hosts and vectors for the parasite. Given the possibility of significant death events, worries regarding the effect on wild rabbits seem valid.

How much time does a new creature need to Develop?

A virus can infect a person over the course of a few days to several weeks.

What symptoms of a disease are Telltale?

The virus can, as its name implies, result in severe hemorrhagic disease. Unnoticed symptoms such as fever decreased appetite, and sadness can develop into more serious symptoms such as difficulty breathing, neurological disease, and bleeding from the mouth or nose as a result of internal hemorrhage. Infected rabbits are frequently found dead, frequently with signs of bleeding.

The virus’s mode of Transmission

Direct contact with infected bodily fluids can result in the transmission of bloodborne infections from one person to another. Even brushing up against the animal’s fur can be dangerous because it is usual for the animal’s haircoat to become contaminated with bodily fluids or feces. The virus has a high tolerance for contamination and can spread through tainted materials like cages and even food. By wearing it or putting it into contact with other objects, people can also spread it. There is a possibility that vehicles could spread the virus from one area of their tires to another.

Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Ontario
Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Ontario

Is RHD curable or reversible?

There are no specific treatments for the infection. Despite the severity and quick progression of this disease, it is still possible to stabilize the rabbit by giving it intravenous fluids (e.g. intravenous fluids). According to local regulations, receiving therapy might not even be possible (euthanasia of exposed rabbits may be required in some jurisdictions).

What danger do the retrieved rabbits provide to other rabbits?

Recovered rabbits are capable of spreading the RHDV2 virus. The danger will probably be greatest during the first 4 to 6 weeks after recovery, but lengthy shedding periods cannot be ruled out.

When is it appropriate to be concerned about RHD?

Despite the fact that there are a number of potential clinical indicators for this illness, the most crucial one to watch out for is rapid mortality with bleeding evidence. It makes sense to consider RHD when a large number of animals pass away at the same time for the same cause. As soon as there is a reasonable suspicion that the condition is developing, it is advisable to get tested.


Although RHDV2 vaccinations are available in Europe, they are not yet authorized in the US and Canada. In order for a vaccination from Europe to be used in outbreak areas, the CFIA approval and specific authority to import the vaccine are required. Pharmaceutical firms in the US are already working on developing vaccines, but it will be more than a year before they are complete.

What should I do if my rabbit has what appears to be RHD?

You can give your veterinarian a call. Your veterinarian should then get in touch with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), which is in charge of federally reportable animal diseases. Your provincial department of animal health is also likely to get involved immediately away. A straightforward blood test can identify RHDV2. Make an appointment before bringing your rabbit to the veterinarian’s office. The likelihood of the virus spreading further increases as a result.

Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Ontario
Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Ontario

If you suspect RHD in your pet rabbit or in wild rabbits in your neighborhood, keep your rabbit inside. If you are keeping your rabbit outside in an enclosure, take all necessary precautions to protect it from wild rabbits. For instance, if your rabbit has a sickness, CFIA can offer guidance on manure management and making sure that nothing from the rabbits—such as cages or excrement leaves the secured area.

RHDV has a vaccine that has been created:

Yes, however getting the vaccine is not as easy as making an appointment with your veterinarian because none of the vaccines are licensed in Canada, but they can be imported with the proper documentation. receiving a vaccination In response to an outbreak, it is possible to implement a vaccination program.

Along with immunization, there are additional ways to avoid contracting RHDV:

  • By halting the transmission of the infection. But sometimes it’s not as easy as just expressing it out loud.
  • You can safeguard yourself and your loved ones with a few simple biosecurity measures.
  • preventing domesticated rabbits from getting too close to wild rabbits (e.g., keeping rabbits inside or in well-protected places)
  • stopping pet rabbits from interacting with each other
  • It should be prohibited for guests to interact with rabbits who have done so in the past.
  • knowing the facility’s health state before purchasing a new rabbit from them. A new rabbit should ideally be kept in isolation for 30 days.
  • Preventing insects, fleas, and ticks from infesting pet rabbits

Will there be an upsurge in RHD cases in Ontario?

It’s difficult to say right now. Hopefully, the source, which has been found and contained, has not spread to any other individuals. That data has not yet been made public. It is impossible to determine whether this particular rabbit population represents the sole instance of contamination or isolation. This might have affected a wild rabbit.

Is RHDV eradication in the wild a Straightforward Process?

It’s an extremely tough infection, so no, not at all. It may spend months outside the host, depending on the circumstances. Bleach, accelerated hydrogen peroxide, and peroxygen compounds (Virkon) are all effective disinfectants when used properly. That entails making that the surfaces are first well cleansed. Extremely dirty surfaces, such as dirty floors, cannot be disinfected. Surfaces must be thoroughly cleaned to get rid of any debris before the disinfectant is applied.

Procedures to Follow:

Owners can take preventative measures, especially if they reside in an area where an outbreak has occurred.
Keep rabbits inside; wash your hands thoroughly before and after handling them; change into clean clothes after being outside; leave your shoes at the door; regularly clean and disinfect cages, as well as any bowls or toys; avoid interacting with rabbits whose past is unknown; quarantine any new rabbits in your home for ten days; keep their belongings separate from other rabbits in the house; refrain from bringing in plant material.

Although this virus was just recently found in Ontario, the deaths of two pet rabbits who had it have worried both veterinarians and pet owners. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency reports that Ontario is the first province where rabbit hemorrhagic disease (RHDV-2) has been discovered (CFIA). It had before been found in Alberta and British Columbia, respectively. Both the USDA and the CFIA claim that the virus is not known to sicken people.

All of the rabbits in the Ontario case had previously been healthy, according to Dr. Jamie McGill Worsley, a veterinarian in Forest, Lambton County. Soon after, the rabbits were put to death. She continued, “This was unfortunate for a pet owner who had no warning and at first no comprehension. As we finished testing, we started to get more skeptical that perhaps this [virus] was the case.

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