A highly-contagious rabbit disease has been discovered in Connecticut. The CT Department of Agriculture officials have stated that Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus Type 2 (RHDV2) is a highly contagious foreign animal disease and can be fatal to both domestic and wild rabbits. Thankfully, animals cannot spread it to humans according to the Connecticut Department of Agriculture (DEEP). It has been found in domestic rabbits in the tri-state area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. It has spread through out many states in the southwestern part of the United States.
This confirmation from the Agriculture Department comes after an official report of the sudden death in thirteen of fourteen rabbits submitted to the state on September 6, 2022 and to the USDA Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory on that same day. The 14th rabbit died of RHDV2 two days later. The RHDV2 diagnosis was confirmed via laboratory testing.
The outbreak's source has not been identified, and there is no evidence of infection in other locations. DEEP is urging rabbit owners to monitor their rabbits for the disease's clinical signs, which include sudden death, lack of appetite, fever, respiratory issues, nervousness, internal bleeding leading to blood-stained noses and anemia via the Patch website.
According to DEEP "The following best practices are recommended: Do not allow wild rabbits or pet rabbits from other locations to have contact with your rabbits or to gain entry to your facility or home. Do not allow visitors in rabbitries or let them handle pet rabbits without protective clothing, including coveralls, shoe covers, hair covering, and gloves. Always wash hands with warm soapy water before entering your rabbit area, after removing protective clothing and when leaving the rabbit area. Do not introduce new rabbits from unknown or untrusted sources. If you bring outside rabbits into your facility or home, keep them separated from your existing rabbits for at least 30 days. Use separate equipment for newly acquired or sick rabbits to avoid spreading disease. Sanitize all equipment and cages moved on or off premises before returning them to the rabbitry."