The Greater Vancouver Zoo cancelled hands-on sessions with rabbits over Easter following word from the SPCA that a highly infectious disease that is 95 per cent fatal to bunnies had spread to the Lower Mainland. (SPCA photo)

Hundreds of rabbits to be vaccinated at South Surrey clinic

Vets volunteering time to protect 200-plus animals

More than 200 rabbits are to be vaccinated at a clinic in South Surrey Tuesday, as part of efforts to fight a nasty virus that has killed thousands of domestic rabbits on Vancouver Island and in parts of the Lower Mainland.

According to a news release today, the Rabbitats Rescue Society effort will involve 125 rabbits rescued from the Richmond Auto Mall, eight from the Semiahmoo Animal League (SALI) farm and more than 50 rabbits in foster care.

Four veterinarians – from Richmond, Langley, Vancouver and Squamish – are volunteering their time, along with “a small army” of helpers, the release notes.

The vaccine is to protect the rabbits from rabbit hemorrhagic disease.

B.C.’s Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development issued a news release last month advising rabbit owners to take precautions after confirming that the virus – which attacks blood vessels and organs – had killed hundreds of feral rabbits across B.C., including in Delta and Nanaimo.

Most affected rabbits die suddenly, but can show signs of listlessness, a lack of co-ordination, behavioural changes or trouble breathing before death.

The outbreak prompted the BC SPCA to temporarily suspend its intake of rabbits into all Island and Lower Mainland shelters. The Greater Vancouver Zoo cancelled hands-on sessions with rabbits over Easter following word the virus had spread.

Tuesday’s vaccination effort will use a vaccine not currently approved for use in Canada, however, “it has been imported from France under an emergency permit after a colossal cooperative effort involving multiple government departments and veterinarians,” the release states.

More than 1,000 doses of the vaccine were purchased this month, and another shipment is expected next month, the ministry announced earlier this month.

Just Posted

Why school portables are a ‘way of life’ in Surrey

THIRD IN A SERIES: A look at concerns surrounding Surrey’s 300-plus portables

Grieving mom hopes Facebook message leads to new investigation into son’s Surrey homicide

Criminal Justice Branch didn’t lay charges, concluding no substantial likelihood of murder or manslaughter conviction

Stay home, cats – only pet dogs are OK to attend ‘Cat Walk’ at Surrey park

Surrey Community Cat Coalition’s second annual fundraiser planned Saturday

Surrey high school teacher receives Loran award

First ever to be given to Surrey teacher, district says

ZYTARUK: Canal isn’t Surrey’s first ‘different’ idea

Anyone up for waterskiing in Doug’s Ditch?

VIDEO: Trans Mountain expansion project gets green light, again

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the decision in Ottawa on Tuesday afternoon

MPs hear retired B.C. nurse’s petition to change compensation for fatal medical errors

Teri McGrath wants provinces to implement no-fault system for medical errors

Horgan says he’ll still defend B.C. coast after second Trans Mountain approval

Meanwhile, one B.C. First Nation has announced plans for a legal challenge

Metro Vancouver’s air quality could be the worst yet this wildfire season

As wildfire season approached, Metro Vancouver experts predict the air will be an issue for many

Demonstrators on either side of Trans Mountain debate clash in Vancouver

Crowd heard from member of Indigenous-led coalition that hopes to buy 51% of expansion project

Update: Multiple fires along the railway tracks in Pitt Meadows

CP rail has closed tracks while firefighters work

B.C.’s measles vaccination program gains traction in May

More than 15,000 doses of the MMR vaccine has been administered across the province

B.C. farmers concerned Agricultural Land Reserve changes choking their livelihood

Dozens voice concerns at special meeting hosted on Vancouver Island

UPDATE: Two-year-old involved in Chilliwack pool drowning has died

Toddler was reported to not be breathing as air ambulance called out Thursday afternoon

Most Read