Now more than ever, I cuddle my rabbits. I hug them tight, bestowing kisses on their noses and foreheads, scratching their favorite spots, and promising I’ll do my best to keep them safe, with fear in my heart. With the spread of RHDV2, I know it’s a strong possibility I may lose every single one of them before the vaccine is available. With the likelihood of the virus mutating, it’s also possible the vaccine (which is not yet available here) will become ineffective. I try not to dwell on it, lest it send me into a downward spiral.
I’m following news on the virus. Spare moments are spent reading about the best ways to disinfect, the ways it can be transmitted, reading about those who have been hit with it here in the US, and learning how those in other countries have dealt and are still dealing with it. Vaccines have been available overseas for years, it is classified as FAD (Foreign Animal Disease) here and there are numerous flying, spinning, and burning hoops that must be jumped through to get it imported. Not to mention finding an exotic animal vet who is willing to do this, and the incredible costs of doing so.
One of many news articles. Particular to Texas, and referencing wild populations.
APHIS Factsheet information about the disease and dealing with it.
Please spread word about this. Even if you don’t have rabbits we need to note where die-offs are occurring. If you suddenly don’t see rabbits in areas where they were prevalent in the past, it could be very important. Please, please be aware and report it. Here is contact info, which I’ve taken from this link (from Texas Parks and Wildlife) : “Domestic rabbit owners who have questions about RHDV2 or observe sudden death in their rabbits should contact their private veterinarian. Private veterinarians are requested to contact the USDA-APHIS or the TAHC to report any suspected cases at 1-800-550-8242. Report all unusual mass morbidity (sickness) or mortality (deaths) events to the TAHC.”
This is a serious disease folks. Step back and see the bigger impact it will have in general. With the die off of native rabbits will come big changes to the ecosystem. Rabbits are very much a prey animal, one of the lowest rungs on the food chain ladder, providing food for many, many wild animals. Everything from coyotes to wild cats (mountain lions etc.), to birds (hawks, owls etc.). Even snakes and raccoons will make easy meals of wild rabbit kits.
While I hate to say it, I personally believe the more it is found and reported, the sooner a vaccine will more easily (and financially feasible) become available. I truly believe there is no stopping this thing now, it’s here and it’s here for good. With vectors like flies, mosquitos and birds who can transmit it, it is beyond containment and we need to be proactive.