July 12, 2023
Washington state agriculture officials confirmed a case of a deadly, highly contagious rabbit disease in Island County, a Puget Sound island northwest of Seattle.
The state Department of Agriculture was called to investigate a multiple mortality event, collected the rabbits for testing and the results returned positive for rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus type 2, which killed hundreds of feral and domestic rabbits in the area in 2019.
The premises is under quarantine and has implemented biosecurity measures, state officials said. Because the disease now exists generally in the environment, there won’t be any additional restrictions or rules set into place with this detection.
Late in 2022 the state authorized emergency use of a vaccine for RHDV2, which must be administered by a veterinarian.
State veterinarian Dr. Amber Itle urges rabbit owners to vaccinate their animals and elevate their hutches or bring them inside so they don’t come in contact with wild or domestic-feral rabbits.
If an owned rabbit dies and RHD could be the cause, state veterinarians say to double bag the body in plastic bags and refrigerate it until given more instructions, but do not freeze it.
Contact the WSDA at (360) 902-1878 or [email protected] for more information.
Source: Washington State Department of Agriculture
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