With the growing threat of Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) is recommending that shelters and rabbit owners review their bio-security measures to help protect their animals.

To read the 9/30/2021 update from the DATCP, click here.


Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus Serotype 2 (RHDV2)

Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus Serotype 2 (RHDV2) is a highly contagious virus that affects both wild and domestic rabbits. It is spread through direct contact or exposure with an infected rabbit’s excretions (blood or bodily fluids). It can also spread indirectly through contact with affected carcasses, food, water, or insects. People can spread the virus indirectly by carrying it on their shoes or clothing after being exposed to an infected animal or its excretions in the environment. Symptoms of this disease include fever, decreased appetite, respiratory or neurologic symptoms. Often the only symptom seen is sudden death. RHDV2 is considered a reportable foreign animal disease in the United States.

RHDV2 vaccine from MedGene Labs has been granted emergency use authorization by the FDA and the Wisconsin State Veterinarian. Vaccine studies showed the vaccine to be efficacious. The only side effects noted in their study was mild swelling at the injection site which subsided in under 48 hours. Other signs the manufacturer recommends monitoring for include slight fever and mild lethargy of one to two days duration. This vaccine requires two doses, twenty-one days apart to be fully protective. It has been shown to be safe in rabbits as young as four weeks of age. This vaccine has been shown to be protective two weeks after the second vaccine.

Care Animal Hospital is now able to provide this vaccine for our clients. You may make an appointment on Monday, February 7 2022 from 2:00pm – 5:00pm. The booster will be scheduled on Monday, February 28, 2022 from 2:00pm – 5:00pm. An appointment is necessary in order for your rabbit to receive the vaccine. Please schedule an appointment only if your rabbit is healthy. If your rabbit is experiencing any signs of illness, please call our hospital today to book a comprehensive visit.

Additional vaccine information can be found at House Rabbit Society’s website.

Visit the USDA website for additional information on RHDV2.

If your rabbit has received the vaccine and is experiencing a reaction after hours, please call VCA Milwaukee Emergency Center for Animals (MECA) at 414- 543-7387