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

Fire truck, police car hit in chain of crashes on Hwy. 99 in South Surrey

‘People weren’t paying attention,’ says Surrey assistant fire chief

Greedy family’s maid overcomes them all in Surrey Little Theatre’s latest play

‘The Late Christopher Bean’ is staged at Clayton-area theatre for a month starting Jan. 23

Surrey man charged in 2019 Vancouver homicide

Chad Harry, 32, charged with second-degree murder in killing of 35-year-old Cong Tran

City of Surrey spends $1.2M on winter maintenance – so far

Total budget of $3.7M; 7,000 tonnes of salt used

Final Four set at Surrey RCMP Classic, where a new champ will be crowned

Guildford Park beats Semiahmoo, ending Totems’ three-year championship run

Kids across Canada more at risk of hospitalization from flu this season: doctor

Dr. Theresa Tam said influenza B does not usually peak until February or later

Crown won’t appeal sentence in child sex assault case of former Burns Lake mayor

B.C. Prosecution Service said sentence doesn’t meet standard for appeal

Abbotsford bank ATM robbery thwarted by woman standing her ground

Police arrest alleged known robber running down South Fraser wearing balaclava

Kelowna’s ‘Baby Mary’ finds biological parents after more than 30 years

Geneologist and DNA test helped her connect with her biological parents

B.C. offers $5 million equipment loan program to help ailing forest contractors

Local politicians in Port McNeill and Campbell River says local economies are struggling

Vancouver Island distillery wins award for best Canadian rye whisky

Shelter Point cleans up at Canadian Whisky Awards

Kelowna hotel to award couples for baby-making with Nooner deal

The deal includes a free stay every Valentine’s Day for the next 18 years

Dad of missing Abbotsford woman charged after allegedly exposing himself in park

Barry Shpeley charged with sexual assault and assault

VIDEO: Semi driver records 22 crashes in one icy trip from Chilliwack to Abbotsford

‘Treacherous’ morning had emergency crews struggling to reach stranded drivers

Most Read