Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease in New York, Agriculture Department confirms first case

Regional News

NEW YORK (WSYR-TV) — The New York State Department of Agriculture detected a case of Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus 2 (RHDV2) in a domestic rabbit in Montgomery County.

RHDV2 is a highly contagious and fatal disease for domestic and wild rabbits. Initially found in the United States in 2018, the disease does not affect humans or other animals. Symptoms of this disease in rabbits may include fever, lethargy, hemorrhage, seizures, and sudden death. Typically symptoms appear 1 to 3 days after infection, but the virus can last for weeks through feed or equipment.

While an isolated incident, the NYS Department of Agriculture still recommends ensuring sanitary measures to prevent the disease. Some best practices for safety include:

  • Do not allow pet or wild rabbits to have contact with your rabbit
  • Do not allow visitors in rabbitries or let them handle pet rabbits without protective clothing
  • Wash hands with warm soapy water before entering your rabbit area
  • Keep new rabbits separated from existing rabbits for at least 30 days

The NYS Department of Agriculture also recommends establishing a working relationship with a veterinarian to review biosecurity practices.

This is the second time RHDV2 has appeared in New York. The NYS Department of Agriculture identified the first cluster of cases in New York City in March 2020 where it was quickly identified, isolated, and eradicated.

Sick or dead domestic rabbits should be reported to the State Veterinarian’s office at (518) 457-3502 or to the USDA at (866) 546-7593. Wild rabbits found dead or with blood-stained noses should be reported to NYS Department of Environmental Conservation’s Wildlife Health Unit at (518) 478-2203.

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