Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus type 2 (RHDV2) is a highly contagious & deadly virus that affects both wild and domestic rabbits. The virus has recently been found in several Western states, and was identified in a group of wild rabbits in Palm Springs in May 2020. RHDV2 is a calicivirus and is not related to the coronavirus.
How does it spread?
RHDV2 is spread directly from rabbit to rabbit through the urine or feces of an infected rabbit or through contact with a person, pet or inanimate object that has been in contact with an infected rabbit. The virus is not contagious to humans or other animals
What are the symptoms?
Clinical signs of RHDV2 include loss of appetite, lethargy, high fever, seizures, jaundice, bleeding from the nose, mouth, or rectum, difficulty breathing and sudden death. There is currently no vaccine available in the United States or known anti-viral treatments. If your pet rabbit is experiencing any symptoms of RHDV2, please contact your veterinarian immediately.
How can I keep my pet rabbit safe?
To reduce the risk of infection, we recommend the following for domestic rabbits:
- House your rabbits indoors and discontinue all outdoor playtime.
- Don’t let your rabbit come into physical contact with other rabbits.
- Wash your hands thoroughly before handling your rabbits and after contact with other rabbits.
- Adopt a “no shoes in the house” policy.
- Feed trusted sources of hay and feed. Do not feed plants, grasses, or tree branches foraged from outside.
- Minimize insects in your home by installing window and door screens.
- Use a rabbit-safe monthly flea preventative (ask your veterinarian).
- Keep cats indoors, so they can’t bring in the virus from outside.
- Keep dogs on-leash outside, so they don’t directly interact with wild rabbits (alive or deceased).
- Multi-rabbit households: Quarantine the new rabbit for 14 days. Keep all supplies separate. Handle the new rabbit last, changing clothes and washing hands after contact.
Download the above information as a PDF.
Can I bring a rabbit to the shelter?
Pasadena Humane has developed a comprehensive protocol for intake and evaluation of domestic and wild rabbits to help prevent the spread of the virus. To reduce the spread of RHDV2, please contact us before bringing any rabbit to the shelter. If you are considering rehoming your rabbit due to financial hardship or other circumstances, our Helping Paws program may be able to help. If you live in one of our 11 animal control service areas and must surrender your rabbit, please contact us first. To speak with a Pasadena Humane representative, call 626.792.7151 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What about wild rabbits?
If you find a live or deceased wild rabbit exhibiting any RHDV2 symptoms in one of our 11 animal control service areas, please call animal control at 626.792.7151 immediately. You will be asked for: Name, phone number, email address, observation date, type of illness or injury suspected, address of location including zip code.
Do not touch or handle wild rabbits. Leave the rabbit undisturbed and go home, take a shower, and wash your clothes twice in hot water. You should also disinfect your shoes. It is important that you take these measures to prevent the spread of the virus, even if you do not have pet rabbits at home.
Rabbit Supply Donations
Due to the highly contagious nature of RHDV2, we are unable to accept any drop-off donations of rabbit supplies at this time except directly through our Amazon Wishlist.