Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus (RHDV) Clinic
Peak Veterinary Hospital will be holding a vaccine clinic for Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus (RHDV).
Rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV) is a sudden, highly contagious and fatal caliciviral disease of both wild and domestic rabbits. RHDV, specifically the RHDV2 strain, was detected in Alberta May, 2021 in a single household; the investigation is still underway.
After being exposed to the RHDV2, rabbits usually become sick within three to five days, and with no known cure, only supportive measures are available to try to overcome this deadly disease. Sadly, most rabbits succumb within three to five days from onset of clinical signs. The virus poses no risk to humans or other animals.
RHDV is worrisome for rabbit owners, however, as it is highly virulent. Direct contact with an infected rabbit, including the fur and secretions, as well as through contaminated materials such as food, bedding, water and housing surfaces transmits the virus. Unknowingly, humans via shoes, clothing and even car tires, wildlife and insects can also serve as vectors, spreading the virus into new areas. The calicivirus can remain in the environment for up to 3.5 months and is capable of surviving both freezing and very hot temperatures.
In some countries that have been dealing with RHDV for many years, vaccines are routine for their rabbits. While no vaccine has currently been approved for standard use and made available in the US or Canada, authorities have imported the vaccines under emergency procedure.
At this time, Peak Veterinary Hospital recommends minimizing exposure coupled with monitoring and prevention with Filavac, a vaccine manufactured that protects against both RHDV1 and RHDV2 strains. It is recommended for rabbits over 10 weeks of age, and then boostered annually.
For more information on the upcoming clinic give us a call at (403)904-1100, or email us at .
For Government of Alberta updates on the virus visit their Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease webpage.