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Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease

Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease
March 18, 2022

As the weather changes it is becoming increasingly important to make sure your rabbit is proctected about Rabbit Hemorrhagic Diease.


What is Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease?

Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease (RHD) is caused by a highly contagious and fatal calicivirus that affects pet rabbits and wild rabbits. Until 2020, it had not been detected in North American native species such as cottontails and jackrabbits. Beginning in 2020, RHD was detected in wild and domesticated lagomorphs in the United States and Mexico, resulting in the deaths of untold numbers.


What are the symptoms of RDH?

Symptoms of RHD in domesticated rabbits include, but are not limited to:

  • Inappetence, or loss of appetite Lethargy, or lack of energy
  • Fever of 104F or higher
  • Seizures, weakness, wobbliness and other neurological signs
  • Jaundice, or yellowing of the skin and mucosal membranes (most noticeably in the ears)
  • Bleeding from nose, mouth, genital openings or rectum
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Sudden death


RHD kills quickly, giving little warning. Rabbits often die without showing any symptoms. Any sudden death, especially in an otherwise healthy rabbit, is suspicious and should be reported to your veterinarian as a possible case of RHD.


What can I do to protect my pet rabbit?

  • Keep your rabbit indoors and avoid contact with rabbits outside of your home.
  • Disinfect objects that may be contaminated.  www.rabbit.org/hrdv has a list of disinfectants that effectively kill the virus.
  • Quarantine any new rabbits for at least 14 days.
  • Get your rabbit vaccinated.  The newly US-developed RHDV2 Vaccine has received USDA Emergency Use Authorization.  Call us to schedule an appointment.  (815) 398-6484