Rabbit owners are being asked to request the Filivac vaccine from their vets, to combat rabbit haemorrhagic disease. (News Bulletin file photo)

Island rabbit owners urged to request vaccine for their pets, to protect against RHD

Owners urged to contact vets after last year’s rabbit haemorrhagic disease in Nanaimo and Courtenay

Last spring the parts of Vancouver Island were declared “hot spots” for the deadly rabbit haemorrhagic disease.

This spring, officials are taking steps to help ensure that doesn’t happen again.

On a one-time emergency basis, Dr. Jane Pritchard, B.C.’s Chief Veterinary Officer, imported an emergency supply of Filivac, an effective vaccine which helped stop the spread of this highly contagious disease after more than 300 carcasses were discovered near the Vancouver Island University campus in Nanaimo, followed later by a smaller discovery near the Comox Valley Exhibition grounds.

RELATED: Rabbit haemorrhagic disease confirmed in the Comox Valley

To help ensure that a new batch of Filavac vaccine can be imported this year, rabbit owners are being asked to contact their rabbit vets to express the need for the vaccine and the number of doses required.

If your vet is not ordering the vaccine, they will pass the request on to a clinic that is. The count must be completed by the third week of March.

This year, a vet from the Lower Mainland has taken on the massive job of applying for the importation permit and ordering of the vaccine for the whole province. The order will be places in the first week of April and only one order will be placed.

The more people that respond, the lower the cost per dose will be.

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