The B.C. government is warning rabbit owners after two dead, feral rabbits were found to have a virus. (News Bulletin file)

Highly infectious rabbit virus returns to Vancouver Island

Rabbit hemorrhagic disease found

The Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development is advising rabbit owners in the CRD to take precautions with their pets after two feral rabbits in Saanich died from a highly infectious virus.

Testing has confirmed the presence of rabbit hemorrhagic disease, caused by a calicivirus. This is the second year in a row the virus has been found in Island rabbits, although the source of the virus is unknown.

READ ALSO: Rascally rabbits destroy Vancouver Island lawns

The disease is lethal and highly infectious, exclusive to rabbits. Humans and other animals, including cats and dogs, cannot be infected.

The strain of the virus seen last year only affects European rabbits and is not known to affect native North American rabbits.

Pet owners are being asked to monitor their rabbits daily for signs of illness. Contact your veterinarian immediately if your rabbit shows signs of listlessness, lack of coordination, behaviour changes or trouble breathing, although most rabbits will die suddenly. Once infected, signs of illness occur quickly, usually within one to nine days.

READ ALSO: Sign forbidding rabbit drop-offs gets stuffed bunnies instead

While there is no threat to humans, rabbit owners should practice excellent hygiene when handling their animals as to avoid bringing home the virus.

Rabbit owners who want more information about how to keep their pets safe can consult with their veterinarian regarding vaccinations and review the SPCA fact sheet on rabbit hemorrhagic disease. Visit https://bit.ly/2m9E2zw.



kendra.crighton@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C. firefighters only responding to most life-threatening calls during COVID-19 pandemic

The directive comes after province spoke with paramedics, fire services, according to top doctor

‘An extra $220 every 90 days’: B.C. patients pay more dispensing fees due to prescription limits

Kelowna woman says it’s outrageous to charge for refills every 30 days

Castlegar doctor’s offices remain open for phone, video and in-person appointments

Doctors concerned people may be neglecting health concerns for fear of catching the COVID-19

BRAND NAMES: Cominco, West Kootenay Power, Granby

Consolidated Mining and Smelting (CM&S) became Cominco, then Teck-Cominco, then Teck

Castlegar hospice director says COVID-19 measures make serving the dying heartbreaking

Social distancing brings big challenges to offering support

Education, not enforcement: B.C. bylaw officers keeping a watch on physical distancing

A kind word, it turns out, has usually been all people need to hear

Emergency aid portal opens Monday, cash could be in bank accounts by end of week: Trudeau

Emergency benefit will provide $2,000 a month for those who have lost their income due to COVID-19

QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Take this test and find out how well you know Canada’s most popular winter sport

Researchers look at humidity as a weapon in the fight against airborne viruses

Regular hand washing, physical distancing and PPE for health care workers remains best line of defense

Two inmates found positive for COVID-19 at federal prison in B.C.; other tests pending

15 staff self-isolating waiting results, refusal to work notice sent, says correctional officer

Critic, workers’ group ‘disappointed’ Trudeau chose Amazon to distribute PPE

Amazon Canada said in an email to The Canadian Press that it is working with Canada Post, Purolator

Full World COVID-19 update: National Guard collect ventilators in New York; Spain, Italy improve

Comprehensive coronavirus update with news from around the world.

Two people fined after B.C. police spot online ads re-selling 5,000 surgical, N95 masks

Police confiscated the masks, being sold at inflated prices, and now working with Fraser Health

Most Read