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

Port Alberni man arrested after police seize suspected illicit drugs in Nanoose Bay

Car stopped, impounded after driver clocked travelling at more than twice the posted speed limit

Oceanside Generals back on winning path

Gens score tough VIJHL home wins vs Buccaneers, Glacier Kings

Residents speak out against proposed Parksville affordable housing development

Environment a primary concern; land is largely on a 200-year-old floodplain away from city centre

‘Epic sky palace’: Parksville businesses grant wish for young boy recovering from cancer

Eleven-year-old Kai Hennessey receives treehouse of his dreams

Four things ‘not’ to do if you run into Prince Harry and Meghan in B.C.

Here is a list of some things you definitely should NOT do, according to the BBC

B.C.-based Coulson Aviation C-130 crashes in Australia

Three people are confirmed dead in the crash in New South Wales

New nasal spray launched in Canada to combat hypoglycemic shock in diabetics

Baqsimi is a nasal spray contains three milligrams of glucagon

Rainfall warning issued for east Vancouver Island

Warning issued for area from Nanoose Bay to Campbell River

B.C. RCMP spent roughly $750K on massive manhunt for Port Alberni men

Manitoba RCMP helped with 17-day search through the province’s northern terrain

Future space homes could be made of mushrooms

NASA explores use of fungi to build structures in space

Island Bakery in Cobble Hill to close

Cobble Hill store in business since 1982

Man killed by police in Lytton called 911, asking to be shot: RCMP

Howard Schantz, also known as Barry Schantz was killed following a standoff at his Lytton home

Most Read