Lethal rabbit illness spreading in Pima County

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TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — A extremely contagious and lethal illness is spreading amongst wild and pet rabbits in Pima County, in accordance with Pima Animal Care Middle.

Rabbit Hemorrhagic Illness Virus — or RHDV2 — has been in Southern Arizona earlier than, however this yr it’s inflicting extra alarm.

For the primary time, a pet proprietor introduced contaminated rabbits in to PACC.

“We did have a gaggle of 15 pet rabbits that have been surrendered to the shelter,” stated PACC spokesperson Nikki Reck. “We instantly vaccinated them as a result of we knew that this was occurring in Southern Arizona. And it nonetheless, none of them made it.”

Reck says rabbits are PACC’s third most typical animal, behind dogs and cats, taking in a number of hundred annually.

Nevertheless, PACC will not be taking in new rabbits because it prepares its response to the illness.

Consultants at PACC say different animals and folks can’t catch the illness, however they’ll go it on to rabbits each inside and outdoors the house.

The virus spreads simply and survives even in excessive warmth.

PACC says vaccination is the perfect protection.

“It’s right here, it’s endemic. It’s a part of Southern Arizona now,” Reck stated. “And it’s not one thing that needs to be taken calmly. In case you have a pet rabbit—indoors or out—you need to get your pet rabbit vaccinated as quickly as you possibly can.”

Whereas the shelter works to top off on vaccines, there are non-public clinics round city now providing the RHDV vaccine.

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Ryan Fish is an anchor and reporter for KGUN 9 and involves the Sonoran Desert from California’s Central Coast after working as a reporter, sports activities anchor and climate forecaster in Santa Barbara. Ryan grew up within the Chicago suburbs, incessantly visiting household in Tucson. Share your story concepts and necessary points with Ryan by emailing ryan.fish@kgun9.com or by connecting on Fb and Twitter.

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