—- Colorado now has RHDV2 in the state
From Ragan Adams, CSU Extension
The Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA) in conjunction with Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) has confirmed a case of Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus Serotype 2 (RHDV2) in wild cottontail rabbits in Costilla County. Last week it was in New Mexico and Arizona. I am sending everyone this note for three important reasons.
- The first is to promote accuracy. RHDV2 may cause a loss in the wild rabbit population that will be noticed by the general population. It is not a disease that is transmitted to people, but rabbits dying of plague or tularemia will look very similar and those diseases can be transmitted to people. It is caused by a CALICIVIRUS, not Coronavirus, especially the SARS-CoV-2 The social media could go wild on that.
- The second is to remind 4-H that the disease will affect domestic rabbits so strict biosecurity should be instituted now.
- The third is a general reminder: DO NOT HANDLE DEAD WILD ANIMALS.
Go to this link for more livestock disease information https://www.colorado.gov/aganimals/livestock-health
- Prevention: A vaccine for RHDV2 is not currently available in Colorado. Rabbit owners should practice good biosecurity measures to protect their animals from this disease, such as washing your hands before and after working with rabbits and not sharing equipment with other owners. Rabbit owners should also avoid contact with wild or feral rabbits.
- Reporting of rabbit illnesses or deaths in Colorado; Owners: Rabbit owners who have questions about the disease should contact their veterinarian.
Wildlife: To report suspect cases (sick or dead wild rabbits, hares, or pika), contact your local Colorado Parks and Wildlife office.
Veterinarians: Veterinarians must report suspected RHDV2 cases in domestic rabbits to the State Veterinarian’s Office at 303-869-9130. Disease investigations will be completed by a Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostician.
For additional information on RHDV2, please visit the CDA Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease webpage