Rabbit hemorrhagic disease (RHD) has now been confirmed in Nanaimo, Comox, Courtenay, Parksville, Richmond, and on Annacis Island. The BC SPCA has temporarily suspended intake of rabbits into all Island and Lower Mainland shelters and placed visitor restrictions on these branches. We are currently in the process of vaccinating all shelter and foster rabbits in these regions. At this time, none of our facilities are offering vaccines to the public. We recommend that concerned rabbit guardians contact their veterinarian to inquire about the vaccine.
A rabbit who died in the care of our BC SPCA Education & Adoption Centre in Richmond on April 16th has tested negative for RHD (but was found to have colon cancer). The Centre was closed for cleaning and disinfection but will reopen on Friday, April 20.
Additional control measures are also in place restricting some animal transfers, implementing a rabbit quarantine period prior to adoption for Island, Lower Mainland, and Interior shelters, and asking visitors to all BC SPCA shelters provincially who have been in affected areas to change clothing/ disinfect shoes and hands prior to entering the facility.
April 16, 2018 News Release from the Ministry of Agriculture
Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease published by Iowa State University (PDF)
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 (PDF) 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.