Rabbit-killing hemorrhagic fever in East Tennessee: Indicators to search for


Two circumstances of rabbit hemorrhagic fever have been detected in East Tennessee.

The illness was detected in two domesticated rabbits in the identical Blount County family, in accordance with a spokesperson for Tennessee’s state veterinarian. Each rabbits died. 

The state is researching the supply of the virus, in accordance with a press launch.

The illness is attributable to a virus often known as “rabbit hemorrhagic illness virus kind 2,” or RHDV2. It is extremely contagious and often deadly for any kind of rabbit, hare or pika.

“This detection is an remoted incident with no recognized publicity to every other rabbits, home or wild,” state veterinarian Dr. Samantha Beaty mentioned in a press launch. “RHDV2 just isn’t transmissible to people, however it’s extremely infectious and deadly to home rabbits. We wish to remind rabbit homeowners that working towards good biosecurity is one of the best protection.”

Whereas no wild circumstances have been detected but within the Jap U.S., home circumstances have popped up periodically in home settings. The illness is widespread in Europe and Austrailia. It was first detected in 2010 in France. 

Rabbit homeowners ought to train warning to keep away from introducing the virus to the wild.

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What are the indicators of rabbit hemorrhagic fever?

Contaminated rabbits might have bleeding from the nostril and mouth, seizures and excessive fevers. Some contaminated rabbits could also be torpid, severely underweight and have jaundiced, yellow eyes.  

As soon as signs set in, the animal might die inside two weeks. In extreme circumstances, rabbits have died inside 12 hours of fever. 

The virus destroys the liver, quickly inflicting necrosis and liver failure, mentioned Dr. Cheryl Greenacre, a veterinarian and professor of small animal scientific sciences on the College of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture. 

The contaminated livers cease filtering broken cells from blood and mobile particles breaks and clogs blood vessels. The dying liver can now not produce blood-clotting proteins, inflicting widespread inside bleeding. 

RHDV2 spreads from the bodily fluids of contaminated rabbits and is able to remaining infectious for as much as three months in rabbit carcasses or on surfaces which have are available contact with contaminated fluids. The virus resists excessive temperatures and may survive freezing. 

“These items is horrifying contagious. It may be in your garments and footwear for months,” mentioned Greenacre. “Folks can’t get it. Canines and cats can’t get it. However we certain can unfold it round.”

Greenacre mentioned the virus can unfold from roadkill on tractor trailer tires or from a dog bringing a useless rabbit into a house with pet rabbits. 

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How do I defend my rabbits from hemorrhagic fever?

The virus is proof against chemical compounds and cannot be killed with cleaning soap. On arduous surfaces it may be neutralized with a 1/10 dilution of bleach or an accelerated hydrogen peroxide resolution. 

Name your veterinarian and the state veterinarian when you encounter a case within the wild or in case your home rabbit dies immediately. The state veterinarian might be reached at 615-837-5120.

The Tennessee Wildlife Sources Company and Tennessee Division of Agriculture each suggest to keep away from touching wild rabbits or rabbit carcasses. Name Tennessee Wildlife Sources Company when you encounter a useless rabbit or hare within the wild. 

Particular directions for hunters, falconers and rabbit farmers might be discovered on the TWRA web site.

Newly acquired rabbits needs to be quarantined for at the least 30 days from different animals, the state mentioned. Your veterinarian can order a vaccine in your rabbits. 

First detected in North America on a Canadian rabbit farm, the virus has been devastating to rabbit populations within the Western U.S., the place it has develop into endemic. 

“It is actually unhappy what’s occurring out West,” Greenacre mentioned. 

She described a ripple impact of hunger as predators scramble to search out different meals sources when rabbits die. “All people eats rabbits.”


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