Utah has had its first confirmed case of Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease.
Our phones are under a higher load of calls right now, if you call us, please bear with us as we work through them.

The state of Utah is requiring permanent identification for every rabbit vaccinated, which means they will need a microchip. We can provide this for an additional fee, or you are welcome to go elsewhere for the microchip.

What is RHDV2?
Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease is a highly contagious viral disease with high infection and death rates in domestic and wild rabbits. The mortality rate for an infected rabbit is 80-100%

How is it spread?
RHDV2 can be spread in a variety of ways. Primarily from contamination in the environment. However, there are other ways that it may spread: in the environment it can be in and on food, water, air, direct contact with live or deceased rabbits, equipment such as hutches, bedding, cage wire, and other things that your pet rabbit may have outside. It can also spread via fecal matter or rabbits that are infected, or even predators who may have eaten an infected rabbit. Flies, dust, and respiratory droplets can also spread the virus. It is very resistant to extreme temperatures, as such, it can travel in any weather and stay on surfaces for a long time. You can also spread it inside on your shoes if you walked through somewhere with contaminates.
In the environment and on other inanimate surfaces it can live for several months. It can survive on other animals as well (though rabbits are the only animals who can contract RHDV2) and we are unsure of how long it can live on other animals. It can live on a housefly for up to a week.

Where has RHDV2 Been Identified in the US?
So far it has been found in a handful of states, Washington, New York, New Jersey, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada, and now Utah, as well as other states across the US.

What are the symptoms?
Rabbits can present symptoms such as poor appetite, depression, inactivity, and listlessness. They will have a fever, and some may present with bloody nasal discharge. Additional long-term infection symptoms can include jaundice, respiratory distress, diarrhea, weight loss, and bloating. Sudden, abrupt death can also occur without any symptoms showing.

What can you do to Prevent Infection?
The best recommendation right now is to keep your rabbit indoors. The virus transfers via infected wild rabbits for the most part, and can linger in an environment for quite a while. We are unsure of exactly how long, but the current information indicates that it could be there for weeks or even months. You should also change your clothing upon entering your house and rabbit enclosure to ensure that you don’t bring something in on your shoes or pants. Wash hands before feeding or handling your rabbit. Do not bring a new rabbit into your home for the time being, as there is no way to know for sure if it is infected. If you are growing or harvesting ANY greens or veggies in your yard, ensure that you rinse them THOROUGHLY before giving them to your rabbit.

What are we at Wasatch Exotic Pet Care doing?
There are vaccines that have been developed for this virus that are available in other countries where RHDV2 has been established for years. We were successfully able to obtain the permits necessary to import the vaccine from France and are moving forward with scheduling those on our waitlist for vaccine appointments.
The vaccine we have is an annual vaccine, so you should be prepared to receive this from your veterinarian during your rabbits annual exams.

As we gain more information about RHDV2, we will update this page.

Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Fact Sheet, Washington State Department of Agriculture, Animal Services Division.
Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Factsheet for Rabbit Owners, Utah Department of Agriculture and Food Animal Health Program.