Bunny owners warned of new hemorrhagic disease killing Dutch rabbits

. Source: Pixabay/mondo00

Veterinary organization KNMVD is warning bunny owners of an outbreak of Viral Hemorrhagic Disease that is killing rabbits in several places in the Netherlands, including in the Nijmegen, Groningen and Utrecht.

The organization received reports of rabbit deaths from several places in the country and autopsies on the animals confirmed the likely cause of death as this disease, caused by the RHD-virus.

The VHD disease is very contagious and is spread by direct contact between rabbits and also indirectly through urine, feces, water, food, hands and cages. A rabbit infected with VHD usually dies within 24 - 48 hours. The infected rabbits sometimes show symptoms of anxiety or bleeding, but there are often no symptoms at all.

The organization advises rabbit owners to have their pets vaccinated against the RHD virus every year. This vaccine protects against the usual variant of the virus. Though in the most recent outbreak, vaccinated rabbits were also infected, leading the organization to believe that a new virus variant is present. Further study is being done to confirm this.

Further precautionary measures include cleaning and disinfecting areas where an infected rabbit was, do not feed your pet grass or vegetables that may have been in contact with wild rabbits and wash your hands before and after feeding and caring for your pet.