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MDARD authorizes new vaccine to protect domestic rabbits against hemorrhagic disease

Fatal rabbit virus spreads to Southern Nevada
Posted at 3:34 PM, Oct 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-20 15:34:22-04

LANSING, Mich. — Dr. Nora Wineleand, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development’s (MDARD) State Veterinarian, has authorized the use of a new vaccine for rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus type 2 (RHDV2).

The vaccine further protects domestic rabbits from the deadly disease.

RHDV2 is an extremely contagious, fatal disease for rabbits and hares.

While RHDV2 does not affect people or other species of animals, virtually all rabbits and hares that contract the disease will die. No cases of the RHDV2 have been reported in the state of Michigan.

The vaccine is only available to, and must be administered by, licensed veterinarians in the State of Michigan.

If you are a veterinarian and interested in obtaining the vaccine, please contact Medgene Labs at 605-697-2600. For more information on the vaccine ad RHDV2, including a list of frequently asked questions, visit the Medgene Labs website.

MDARD advised in a release sent to Fox 17 that rabbit owners should follow good biosecurity practices to help protect their animals from harmful diseases.

Those recommended biosecurity measures include:

• Avoiding the purchase and/or adoption of rabbits from areas with RHDV2
• Isolating newly acquired rabbits from other rabbits for at least 30 days.
• Regularly cleaning and disinfecting all items/surfaces a rabbit has touched, especially if a rabbit has been ill and the item is likely to be shared with another rabbit. Bleach is effective against RHDV2 but be sure to follow the label’s instructions. Also, if something cannot be disinfected, discard it.
• Not sharing items between different groups of rabbits.
• Washing one’s hands before and after handling a rabbit.
• Taking off one’s shoes after coming indoors and storing them in a place that is out of reach for a pet rabbit.
• Keeping domestic rabbits away from wild rabbits. Do not let domestic rabbits outdoors.
• Controlling for flies and rodents as they could carry the virus.
• Opting not to feed a domestic rabbit with outdoor forage as it could be contaminated.
• Promptly isolating any ill rabbits and contacting a veterinarian.

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