Attention Calgary! We got a rabid pandemic hitting our rabbits! Several reports are being made to AARCS, the Chief Provincial Veterinarian, and Alberta Environment and Parks about the feral rabbits suddenly dying in the Seton and Manchester Industrial areas. The Chief Provincial Veterinarian and the UCVM Pathology Lab are conducting some tests on some of these deceased rabbits. Although it is hard to find this out in Canada, the experts theorize that these rabbits have contracted a vicious disease called Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease (RHD).
RHD is a swift, infectious and deadly disease that is often found in wild and domestic rabbits in Europe which the rabbits of North America are descended from. Although it seems unlikely that it would hit Calgary, many of the wild rabbits are being found dead with similar symptoms to RHD. So, it is safe to say that our rabbits here might have contracted it. Otherwise, they are being exposed with something else such as poisons or toxicity. Due to these concerns, we are asking all rabbit owners/fosters to keep your rabbits inside and don’t feed them any grass, fruit, or vegetables from outside. This is Just a precaution, to find out what is truly happening here and what we can do about it. This disease is very hardy and can survive both hot and cold temperatures (even outside of a body) for many months.
Do you suspect that your rabbit or you have seen a wild rabbit looking like it’s been infected? Or maybe you noticed a dead rabbit while you were out walking in your neighborhood. Here is how you can tell if your furry friend has contracted RHD.
loss of appetite
shortness of breath
blood spots in the eyes
frothy and bloody discharge from the nose
neurological signs, including difficulty walking, paddling of the legs, seizures and paralysis
Now that you know the symptoms, you have to know what to do about what you have witnessed. First of all, do NOT touch them! Although this disease does nothing to humans, it is known to be deadly to other pets. Remove yourself away from the critter and please contact one/all of the following offices:
Office of the Chief Provincial Veterinarian: – 1-780-427-3448
Alberta Environment and Parks Office: 310-0000
Let’s keep our sweet bunnies safe and disease-free.