Fatal Disease Confirmed as Cause of 14 Rabbit Deaths in Hartford County
The small, cramped cages were as far as the eye could see inside the 4-H rabbit barn on the Allen County Fairgrounds each year back in Kansas. The fascination of having a rabbit or bunny as a pet never appealed to me, but I knew a couple of people who had them as pets, so the news I saw today would have sent those particular folks into a frantic tailspin of worry.
According to a report by NBC CT, the Connecticut Department of Agriculture has confirmed cases of Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus Type 2 (RHDV2), and just the fact that it is difficult to pronounce seems like certain doom. Those poor rabbits were located in Hartford County and the disease was discovered after 13 of them died suddenly and then another a couple of days later, bringing the total to 14, and tests confirmed the RHDV2 virus.
It isn't always immediately detectable and sometimes the only sign of the disease is sudden death. I Googled pictures of rabbits with the disease but am choosing not to show them. Funny thing is, I would be more inclined to show a pic of a human with some sort of abnormality or ailment than a cute cuddly animal with one, is that weird? But, I digress...here's a cute jackrabbit...
Both domestic and wild rabbits can get the disease and the source of the outbreak is being investigated and it seems to be isolated, for the time being. RHDV2 was discovered in domestic rabbits in neighboring New York and New Jersey as well as several southwestern states. So far, it is only one case, and it doesn't appear to have spread, but the Department of Agriculture urges rabbit powers to maintain proper procedures to prevent the disease. Don't worry, it is not spread to humans.
The Department of Agriculture recommends these practices:
Do not allow wild rabbits or pet rabbits from other locations to have contact with your rabbits or to gain entry to your facility or home.
Do not allow visitors in rabbitries or let them handle pet rabbits without protective clothing (including coveralls, shoe covers, hair covering, and gloves).
Always wash hands with warm soapy water before entering your rabbit area, after removing protective clothing and when leaving the rabbit area.
Do not introduce new rabbits from unknown or untrusted sources.
If you bring outside rabbits into your facility or home, keep them separated from your existing rabbits for at least 30 days. Use separate equipment for newly acquired or sick rabbits to avoid spreading disease.
Sanitize all equipment and cages moved on or off premises before they are returned to the rabbitry.
Seems like we have a ton of things to deal with these days and if you are a rabbit owner, here's one more to deal with. If you do have rabbits, good luck to you and be safe. Thanks for hanging out kids and see you again real soon.