Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease

A vaccine is now available to protect our rabbits against Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease (RHD). With the increasing risk for our domestic rabbits, we are recommending all rabbits be vaccinated for their protection.

The state veterinarian has approved the use of a vaccine to protect our rabbits.
(Vaccine Details – Click Here)

In Europe, Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease is a serious and contagious viral disease that results in high levels of death and serious illness. In many cases, there are no clinical signs except sudden collapse and death.

Rabbits that show clinical signs may be divided into two groups.

  • Group 1: fevers of 107 degrees (normal 99-100 degrees), blood from the mouth, nose, vulva, or in the urine and bowel movements. The rabbit may lay on its side, have convulsions, or go into a coma. Rabbits generally die 12 to 36 hours from the onset of fever.
  • Group 2: listless, not eating, weight loss, and jaundice (yellow color to the sclera in eyes, skin, and mouth). Death usually occurs due to liver failure, 1-2 weeks after onset of disease.

A few rabbits have very mild diseases and recover. Most of them become asymptomatic (show no symptoms) carriers and will shed the virus for months.

The disease is reportable (your local veterinarian’s job is to do this) to the State Veterinarian in the United States because of its contagion and result in high economic impact to the industry.

There is an approved vaccine in Europe that is not yet licensed in the USA. However, the vaccine may be used with the approval of the State Veterinarian in a region of an outbreak. At this time, Missouri has not reported any outbreaks.

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