This page will be updated to include direct links to the sources as time permits.
Please feel free to share the direct link to this page to facilitate ease of access.
Each of these is linked directly to the public access internet source where I myself found and read the studies.
These references are included in no particular order, but all pertinent links and citations are clearly shown at these links.
Please do not assume that the title of the reference limits it’s viability as pertinent to the discussion. READ these sources. Most include very pertinent background data regarding the RHDV2 variant, it’s discovery, and it’s progression across the globe.
I will continue to add to these reference links over time.
Ok folks, it’s officially here. RHDV2 has been CONFIRMED in Medina County Ohio as of September 19, 2018.
So…where did it come from?
Authorities are working on that, but the virus was confirmed in a colony kept rabbit from a private, CLOSED rabbitry.
The virus can be carried by asymptomatic rabbits for WEEKS….as few as 5% who get it will die, but will shed the virus for up to a reported 13 weeks or more. Kits as young as 11 days of age have been reported to be suceptible.
The virus is passed easily by scavengers, birds of prey, and even flies and mosquitos. If you forage for feed or treats, you can introduce the virus that way, and even an infected fly (they remain contagious for 9 days after exposure to the virus) can regurgitate or pass enough of the virions in their feces to infect a rabbit .
The virus can live in the deceased tissues and survives the digestive processes of most animals. Every part of a rabbit infected with the virus is considered contagious, from the fur to the tissues.
The virus can survive in a decomposing carcass at 76°F at least 20 days, 122°F for at least an hour, and can survive at 39°F for as long as 7.5 MONTHS. The incubation period is 3-9 days.
How do we kill it?
0.5% bleach solution (household bleaches are usually 5-6% sodium hypochlorite, but check the label/SDS), is made by mixing 1 part 5% household bleach + 9 parts water. The documented kill time for the virus is 1 minute, but the bleach solution needs to be made fresh DAILY.
What else can we do?
If you suspect RHDV2, you MUST contact your State Veterinarian (typically this is done via a local veterinarian).
The carcass needs to be properly prepared immediately and sent for testing to confirm the virus; your property and rabbits will be quarantined, and you will be asked to retrace your steps for a certain time period to try to determine the source of the virus.
It is VITAL that every rabbit owner know and follow this protocol to stop this virus!
If you are processing or doing a home necropsy on a deceased rabbit and find an enlarged spleen, dark abnormal kidneys, a dark, enlarged, mottled, or necrotic liver, or other abnormalities, immediately contact a local veterinarian for instructions. DO NOT dispose of the carcass!
View post mortem pictures here for help with some of what to look for:
I HIGHLY recommend good biosecurity measures be implemented in every rabbit owning household and rabbitry IMMEDIATELY!
Rabbitry clothes and shoes should never leave the rabbitry/enter another rabbitry, foot baths should be used inside the rabbitry, and hand washing is vital.
Remember, contact for 60 seconds with a 0.5% bleach solution (1 part 5% sodium hypochlorite bleach + 9 parts water) has been shown to kill this virus, but more contact time is better (10 minutes, preferably)!
Do NOT allow visitors near your rabbits, and absolutely do not allow anyone else to handle your rabbits (this includes shows and judges!).
This may seem like some small thing, but this virus has the potential to completely destroy our rabbitries and pet rabbit population without immediate and strict implementation of biosecurity!
The virus can and will travel “silently”, and as of right now we have NO indication that it has not!