Another virus has arrived in Las Vegas.
A fatal rabbit disease known as Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus Serotype 2 or RHDV2 has made its way into the Las Vegas Valley. Although it does not impact human health, RHDV2 is highly contagious and affects both domestic and wild rabbits.
Signs of RHDV2 are almost non-existent and result in sudden death by internal bleeding. Infected rabbits may also develop a fever, become reluctant to eat or show respiratory or nervous signs. The virus is spread through direct contact or exposure to an infected rabbit’s excretions or blood and can also survive and spread from carcasses, food, water, and contaminated materials. Humans can spread the virus indirectly by carrying it on clothing and shoes, as well as dogs and other pets tracking the virus indoors. Additionally, the virus is very resistant to extreme temperatures and can live on surfaces for 200 days.
A vaccine for RHDV2 is currently not available in the United States; however, the State Veterinary Board has deemed this an emergency situation and has placed an order for the vaccine. Las Vegas has seen its first confirmed case of domestic rabbit fatality resulting from RHDV2. The virus has already spread rapidly in neighboring states as thousands of wild rabbit populations are being decimated in states like Texas.
“We’re urging pet rabbit owners to be extra vigilant right now by taking precautions including thoroughly washing your hands with warm soapy water before handling your pet rabbit as well as sanitizing all equipment and cages with a bleach and water solution. Rabbit owners should not introduce new rabbits from unknown or untrusted sources at this time,” said Lori Heeren, Executive Director at Nevada SPCA. “Additionally, wash greens thoroughly and use only a trusted hay and feed source.”
Nevada SPCA is currently suspending all rabbit adoptions until further notice.
If you have any questions about this disease, please contact your veterinarian. It is a reportable disease, and if detected, it should be immediately reported to the Nevada Department of Wildlife. Dr. Nate LaHue, DVM, MPVM should be contacted via email firstname.lastname@example.org
or by phone at (775) 688-1813.
Nevada SPCA can be contacted at (702) 872-7722
or visit the website at nevadaspca.org. Regular hours of operation are Monday through Thursday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
About Nevada SPCS:
Nevada SPCA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with a mission of saving homeless pets in Clark County by providing shelter, care, and finding loving new homes for dogs, cats, rabbits, and other small animals. Nevada SPCA is not funded by any national SPCA and relies entirely on the generosity of individuals and local businesses to help animals in need.