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Update: Rabbit hemorrhagic disease outbreak

March 19, 2018

Rabbit hemorrhagic disease is now suspected in the Comox area and tests are pending at the provincial laboratory. The BC SPCA has temporarily suspended intake of rabbits into all Island shelters until the extent of the outbreak is known. Additional control measures are also in place restricting some animal transfers, implementing a rabbit quarantine period prior to adoption for Island and Lower Mainland shelters, and asking visitors to all BC SPCA shelters provincially who have been on the island to change clothing/ disinfect shoes and hands prior to entering the facility.

BC SPCA suspends intake of rabbits due to disease

Original story: March 2, 2018

The BC SPCA has temporarily suspended intake of rabbits into its Nanaimo shelter after tests conducted by the provincial government on deceased feral rabbits found on the campus of Vancouver Island University and in the Rotary Bowl in Nanaimo determined the rabbits died from haemorrhagic disease, caused by a calicivirus.

Rabbit haemorrhagic disease is an extremely infectious and lethal disease of rabbits. It is the third confirmed diagnosis of this virus in Canada, and the first in British Columbia.

The disease is exclusive to rabbits – other animals, including dogs and cats, cannot be infected.

Please see the news release from the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development for further details.

The media contact listed with the release is: 250 356-7506.

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