RHD Discovered Across the Northwest

The Oregon and Idaho Departments of Agriculture are warning owners to be on the lookout for Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease. The Virus causes sudden death in rabbits and is highly contagious among rabbit populations and spreads very questions. Earlier this month, ODA received a report of a eight rabbits found dead in the Portland suburb of Milwaukie. Meanwhile the virus was found in jackrabbits southwest of the Boise airport. This is the first time the virus has been reported in Idaho.

“At this point, we are confident that all eight of the rabbits died from RHDV2, and the virus has taken hold in the feral rabbit population,” said Dr. Ryan Scholz.

To prevent the virus from spreading further into the domestic rabbit population, the state will be collecting and testing feral rabbits in the vicinity where the eight deceased rabbits were found.

ODFW is concerned about this disease spreading to wild rabbits such as cottontails because infections in other states have caused high mortality in wild rabbits and hares. Wild rabbits and hares have an important role in the ecosystem.

ODA and ODFW are asking the public to report rabbit mortalities to track the virus’s presence and movement. Please call 1-800-347-7028 or Click Here to report domestic or wild rabbits which are suspected to have died from RHDV2. Domestic rabbit owners should contact their veterinarian for more information on preventing RHDV2. 

How can I prevent the spread of RHDV2?

  • Wash and disinfect hands, clothing, gloves, footwear, cages, and equipment between rabbits from different sources.
  • Quarantine new rabbits away from existing ones for 30 days.
  • Keep pet rabbits inside to avoid exposure to environments potentially contaminated by wild/feral rabbits or by people, vehicles or implements that can spread the disease.
  • Immediately contact ODA (800-347-7028) if you suspect RHD or have sick or freshly dead rabbits.
  • If you have animals not freshly dead, double plastic bag them and dispose of in a landfill.

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