Two domestic indoor rabbits from one household in Ramsey County (St. Paul) Minnesota have been confirmed dead from RHDV2, a foreign disease that has been spreading across North America in wild rabbits/hares and domestic rabbits.
Through nearly 1 1/2 years of learning from other rabbit virus outbreaks, we are extremely cautious as we move forward with our prevention plans. The fact that there is an outbreak didn't catch us off guard -- what caught us was the exact timing. So now we respond to the things we know and bend and adjust we get more information.
The Peacebunnies are based in the Twin Cities metro and regularly host programs at health care facilities, schools and senior homes across the metro area and have traveled to other states in the past. We have been leading a group to work on a mass vaccination plan for our rabbits and others and look forward to sharing updates soon. Subscribe to the RHDV2.com website for updates as they develop if you want to be part of our efforts.
In 2020 we needed to change our policies due to COVID to keep the humans safe, and now we are changing again to keep our furry friends as safe as possible from RHDV2.
It's a press release we hoped we would never see: the Minnesota State Board of Animal Health confirming the first diagnosed cases of RHDV2, the Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus 2, in Minnesota. In RAMSEY COUNTY, here in the Twin Cities. PRESS RELEASE LINK
WHAT WE HAVE LEARNED... (best practices from other states) IF YOU HAVE RABBITS AT HOME/FARM
1) Implement/upgrade your biosecurity procedures now. And we hopefully ride this out. Close off your rabbits from other people -whether or not they have rabbits. Protect rabbits by keeping them separated from other rabbits and carriers
Prevent tracking the virus on your clothing/shoes/tires Clean. Sanitize. Repeat. Keep separate shoes and clothes for rabbit time. Prevent other vehicles/guests from spreading the virus to you/your items/your place/your vehicle. 2) Consider returning to zoom meetings for 4-H, FFA etc. and follow tight biosecurity at school and events with people who raise rabbits. Be aware...you could be a link in an accidental super-spreader event to them or to your rabbits at home.
3) Do not bring your rabbits to any events like hoppy hours, meet and greets, bunny yoga, shows (all ARBA events in 125 mile outbreak are already being cancelled and rescheduled) 4) ARBA:" Exhibitors, judges, registrars and vendors residing or traveling by motor vehicle through an area of the country that is part of an active outbreak are discouraged from attending ARBA sanctioned shows in other areas or having contact with other rabbit breeders for 60 days of the last confirmed positive case."
5) Make decisions /plans about your intentions for vaccination. How many rabbits? Which ones? Do you have funds saved up? 6) Plan for safe rabbit food & hay purchase and storage (virus can survive in organic material with no live host for up to 90 days).
7) Get medical care for your sick Report suspicious symptoms before you come in so they can prepare and prevent infecting their clinic/other rabbits.
8) If a rabbit dies suspiciously, do not touch it! Report the death immediately to your vet and alert the Minnesota Board of Animal Health to be guided about how to safely handle, transport for testing etc. Gregory R Suskovic DVM 651-238-2503. Michael Crusan, communications 651-201-6815.
IF YOU SEE A DEAD/SICK WILD RABBIT IN NATURE ANYWHERE IN MINNESOTA-- DON'T TOUCH IT. Call first -- find out what to do. DNR Central 651-296-6157 888-646-6367 Rabbits will still be struck by cars etc. but report anything suspicious
IF YOU HUNT/HIKE (whether or not you have rabbits)
1) Keep an eye out for dead rabbits. Contact DNR/Conservation office (above) with the exact location if spotted. 2) Clean your shoes, tire treads, clothing after each trip outside in the woods so you don't accidentally spread the virus on your clothes or shoes or vehicle