By Barry Whitworth, DVM / Area Food/Animal Quality and Health Specialist for Eastern Oklahoma
Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease (RHD) is a highly fatal disease in domestic rabbits and some types of the virus are deadly for wild rabbits. RHD is considered a Foreign Animal Disease in the United States. The disease poses no threat to humans. The disease is caused by a calicivirus, which has three different pathogenic groups. One of the serotypes is Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus, Serotype 2 (RHDV2).
This serotype was discovered in France in 2010. In 2018, RHDV2 was diagnosed in a pet rabbit in the state of Washington. In the spring of 2020, the disease was found in wild and domestic rabbits in the states of Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Texas. Oklahoma rabbit owners need to be aware of this emerging threat.
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