Vancouver – Rabbit haemorrhagic disease has been confirmed as the cause of death of several pet rabbits living in a downtown Vancouver apartment building.
This brings back concerns from last year, when the Ministry of Agriculture received a French vaccine to combat the virus.
Rabbit owners who want more information about how to keep their pets safe can consult with their veterinarian regarding vaccinations and review an SPCA factsheet on rabbit hemorrhagic disease at: https://spca.bc.ca/news/rhd/
The Province’s chief veterinary officer has issued a general order under the Animal Health Act to stop owners from moving rabbits in or out of the apartment building and has also mandated vaccination for rabbit haemorrhagic disease in that building.
Rabbit haemorrhagic disease is an extremely infectious and lethal disease that is exclusive to rabbits. Humans and other animals, including dogs and cats, cannot be infected. Previously, the disease was found in feral, commercial and pet rabbits in Parksville, Comox Valley, Nanaimo, Richmond and Delta.
If pet owners notice any signs of illness in their rabbits, they should contact their veterinarian immediately with any concerns. Owners are advised to take precautions by practising excellent hygiene when handling their animals and staying away from the area where the disease has occurred.
B.C.’s chief veterinary officer proactively obtained a special import permit to supply the rabbit hemorrhagic disease vaccination to veterinarians throughout the province. Many pet rabbits have already been immunized.