May 7 2021
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  Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease   RHD does not affect humans or other animals  

Story by The Oregon Herald Staff
Published on Thursday April 15, 2021 - 7:23 AM

PORTLAND, Oregon – Environmental scientists are concerned about the state's wild rabbit population after repeated cases of a virus that kills the animals were reported in various parts of the state.

The new outbreak of rabbit hemorrhagic disease, reported by the US Department of Agriculture on Wednesday, was in La Pine.

Last month, the disease was found in eight dead domestic and wild rabbits in Milwaukie, a Portland suburb, about 200 miles away. Following the discovery of the infectious disease in the animals last month, Oregon's state veterinarian, Dr Ryan Scholz, confirmed that the virus had spread to the wild rabbit population.

_Rabbit HemorrhagicDisease (RHD)_ Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus, also referred to as RHD or RHDV, is a fatal viral infection in rabbits. RHDV Type 2 (RHDV2) was identified in a feral domestic rabbit colony in the Milwaukie, Oregon area on Tuesday, March 23, 2021. This disease is highly contagious among domestic rabbits and has high mortality rates in rabbit colonies. Unlike RHDV, RHDV2 can infect native rabbit and hare species.

Symptoms of RHD in domestic rabbits may include:

•Acute/rapid death



•Lack of appetite

•Congested membranes around the eyes


•Lack of coordination

•Excitement or paddling

•Difficulty breathing

•Bloody, frothy nasal discharge at death


The best way to protect your rabbits is to practice strong biosecurity practices. There is no treatment or cure for RHD and currently, there is no vaccine approved for use against the virus in the United States. Limited Emergency Use Authorizations have been granted to Oregon Veterinarians to import non-approved vaccine from Europe. Please contact your veterinarian for more information and to inquire if they offer the vaccine.