Friday, May 13, 2011

RHD Disease in Pet Rabbit in Canada

According to Veterinary Practice News , Canada’s National Center for Foreign Animal Diseases (NCFAD for short) reported a case of a domestic altered male rabbit who tested positive for rabbit hemorrhagic disease (RHD ) on March 30, 2011. By the way, to add to the confusion the disease is also known as Rabbit Viral Hemorrhagic Disease (VHD) and Rabbit Calicivirus Disease (RCD).  No matter what you call it, VHD is highly contagious and so lethal it has been used in Australia as a “biological control agent for the introduced European Rabbit.” The recent case in Canada was a pet rabbit housed in an apartment with two other pet rabbits for a year. Although the infected rabbit did not recover, the other two rabbits tested negative for the disease and are still healthy.  The Canadian Food Inspection Agency CFIA “considers this event in a noncommercial rabbit as resolved.”  Up until 2000 the US was VHD free, but then it was reported on a farm in Iowa.  Fortunately, there have been very few cases reported in the US. There is no cure and a vaccine is not currently available in the United States. See these articles by Kristen Strobel and Evi Goldfield and an article at the House Rabbit Society for more information about this disease.