Cedar Creek Animal Hospital

1434 N Central Expy, #123
McKinney, TX 75070



Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus Type 2

two rabbits

Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus Type 2 (RHDV2) is a highly contagious calicivirus that affects both domestic and wild rabbits, including hares, jackrabbits, and cottontails. It has long been present in many other parts of the world, including the United Kingdom & Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and western Africa. It has also now been present in the continental United States since March, 2020. It does not affect humans or other species.

Transmission is through oral, nasal/respiratory, or ocular exposure to the virus, or by blood-feeding insects such as fleas, mites or mosquitos.

The virus may cause sudden death (within 1-2 hours), with victims potentially showing bloody discharge at the mouth, nose, and rectum. Other potential clinical signs include loss of appetite, lethargy, high fever, seizures, and difficulty breathing.

Fortunately, there is a vaccine available. The vaccine is made by Medgene and is in the final stages of full FDA approval but has been in emergency use by the broader veterinary community for many months now. It has been proven to be both safe and efficacious. What is not yet known is how long immunity lasts after the initial vaccine and single 3 week booster. Meaning, long-term will it need to be boostered every 6 months? 1 year? 3 years? That kind of information should be available as the company wraps up the rest of it's FDA approval requirements.

Unless your rabbit is fully vaccinated, we recommend keep them indoors and away from the wild cottontails that are so common around here, as well as practice good rabbit hygiene & social distancing, and protect them with a rabbit-safe topical flea control.

If you find a deceased or potentially affected wild rabbit, do not handle it. RHDV2 signs can be similar to a couple of other illnesses that are potentially contagious to people and other animals. Instead, contact Texas wildlife officials or your local animal control. If you suspect RHVD2 in your own rabbit, please contact us immediately.

Trusted websites with additional information on RHDV2:

The House Rabbit Society has TONS of useful information and further links: www.rabbit.org/rhdv/

The Texas Animal Health Commission maintains timely, up to date outbreak information: www.tahc.texas.gov/news/