RHDV2 Dangerous Rabbit Virus

Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus

In recent issues of In Pursuit of Hoppiness and during our annual member meeting in June 2022, we have kept you informed of Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus, or RHDV2, a highly contagious virus that affects both domestic and wild rabbits, spreading throughout the U.S. Many times, the only signs of the disease are sudden death and blood-stained noses caused by internal bleeding. We have added an update here, June 2024.

The virus has appeared in Connecticut. In September 2022, NBC Connecticut and other news outlets reported that 14 rabbits in a Hartford County household had died of RHDV2.

A vaccine is available! The majority of HRC members reside in Mass. and Conn. but we have members in many states so we will try to provide information to help everyone. So far, vets (all or some) in 48 states are approved to use of the new RHDV2 vaccine. Not approved at this time are Mississippi, South Carolina, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. For Medgene’s state permissions list. see: https://medgenelabs.com/rhdv2/

To learn more about the RHDV2 vaccine, read: RHDV2-FAQ-1222.pdf (medgenelabs.com).
See the database of vets currently offering RHDV2 vaccine in the U.S. at https://rabbitors.info/us-rabbit-resources/us-rhdv2-vaccination-resources/ but also check with your rabbit-savvy vet because the list is incomplete. Additional information is available from:
 Connecticut Department of Agriculture, State Veterinarian Jane Lewis, (860) 713-2505 or ctstate.vet@ct.gov.
 Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry, (207) 287-3200 or Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, (207) 287-8000 or dacf@maine.gov.
 Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources, State Veterinarian Lorraine
O’Connor, (617) 626-1791 or L.OConnor@mass.gov.
 New Hampshire Department of Agriculture, Markets and Food, Division of Animal
Industry, State Veterinarian Stephen K. Crawford, (603) 271-2404 or
stephen.k.crawford@agr.nh.gov.
 New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, Director of Public
Information Jola Szubielski, (518) 457-0752 or Jola.Szubielski@agriculture.ny.gov.
 Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, Division of
Agriculture/Animal Health, State Veterinarian Scott Marshall, (401) 222-2781 or
scott.marshall@dem.ri.gov.
 Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets, State Veterinarian Kristin M. Haas,
(802) 828-2426 or kristin.haas@vermont.gov.

Several HRC members have had their rabbits vaccinated with no side effects and are relieved to know that along with practicing biosecurity they’re doing all we know to protect their rabbits from this deadly virus.
June 2024

Until (and after) you get your rabbit (s) vaccinated, practice biosecurity and decontamination as a precaution. For additional information about protecting your rabbit, see https://rabbit.org/health/rhd/

Final note: the members of HRC’s Board of Directors have worked through urgent issues regarding the impacts of RHDV2 on HRC’s intake, fostering, and adoption procedures, as well as costs.

As always, HRC is a resource for your questions. Contact a HopLine volunteer at info@hopline.org or (413) 439-7472.