Pet rabbit owners beware!

After hundreds of dead rabbits were found in Nanaimo this month, testing was conducted to confirm the presence of a deadly haemorrhagic disease.

This virus is commonly found in European rabbits and is not known to affect those native to North America, but it has been making the rounds on Vancouver Island among feral European rabbits and domestic bunnies.

Thankfully the highly infectious disease only affects rabbits and does not transfer over to humans or any other animals.

But if you have a little furry bunny friend, take heed: this virus causes haemorrhaging by affecting blood vessels and attacking the liver and other organs. Although most affected rabbits die suddenly, you can watch out for these symptoms:

  • Signs of listlessness
  • Lack of co-ordination
  • Behaviour changes
  • Trouble breathing
  • Nose bleeds

Once infected, the rabbits tend to succumb to the virus within the next nine days.

So make sure you don’t let your domestic rabbits out into the wild any time soon. Bunny-owners are also advised to ” take precautions when disposing of any rabbit remains”, according to theMinistry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.

Click here for more information on the disease.