The B.C. government is warning rabbit owners after two dead, feral rabbits were found to have a virus. (News Bulletin file)

Bunny owners beware, feral rabbits die of ‘highly infectious’ virus in Saanich

Rabbit hemorrhagic disease found

The Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development is advising rabbit owners in the Capital Regional District 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.

Just Posted

BREAKING NEWS: Coulson Aviation C-130 crashes in Australia

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

B.C. RCMP spent roughly $750K on massive manhunt for Schmegelsky, McLeod

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

Child struck by vehicle in front of elementary school in Nanaimo

Six-year-old girl taken to Nanaimo Regional General Hospital with non life-threatening injuries

Successful end to search for kayakers along the Chemainus River

Father and son located tired and cold, but otherwise OK

One year later: Theo the giant pig settling into Sahtlam sanctuary

“He’s doing really well, lost quite a few pounds and can run now.”

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

Rainfall warning issued for east Vancouver Island

Warning issued for area from Nanoose Bay to Campbell River

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

Baqsimi is a nasal spray contains three milligrams of glucagon

Island Bakery in Cobble Hill to close

Cobble Hill store in business since 1982

Vancouver Island man arrested after police seize suspected illicit drugs in Nanoose Bay

Car impounded after Port Alberni driver clocked travelling at more than twice the posted speed limit

All Carlton Cards stores closing in the coming weeks

Schurman Retail Group stores across North America will close, including 79 in Canada

Nanaimo RCMP looking for man suspected of $25,000 credit fraud

Police allege suspect racked up debt under another person’s name

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