RHDV2 Scare? Here’s two-Step vaccination to Care! But with Precaution!

Healthcare Pharmaceuticals

A warning has been issued by National Park Service that wild cottontail rabbits in Dinosaur National Monument are getting sick and ultimately killed by a rare virus.

The park has visitors coming from Utah and Colorado. They have been asked to be extra cautious – like, stay away from wild rabbits as the lethal and highly contagious virus mentioned above has been reported to cause rabbit hemorrhagic disease (RHDV2).

Dan Johnson, one of the spokespersons of Dinosaur National Monument, states that the virus has proved to be brutal to rabbits. Those infected have a bloody froth in the mouth.

Johnson further stated that they did notice dead rabbits first in the first week of March. The news regarding confirmed cases was released in the first week of April after the results of tests came out.

The First Outbreak?

RHDV2 was detected in France for the first time in the year 2010 and spread to Australia, the US, and Europe by April 2020. As per the National Wildlife Health Center of the U.S. Geological Survey, the outbreaks are seen in northern Mexico, Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico.

Though it has been confirmed that RHDV2 can’t happen to dogs or humans, the fact that it could be transmitted through objects and clothes can’t be ruled out – Johnson

Besides, people have been advised to keep their own selves as well as pets away as multiple sick or dead rabbits could also be an indication of plague or tularemia, which could not spare humans in the long run.

The two ailments mentioned above are already spread amongst mammals in inter-mountain West and could explain the large volumes of dead animals.

The Park Service has urged the visitors to take snaps of dead or sick rabbits and contact rangers with immediate effect. They will, in turn, make use of special protective equipment for handling carcasses. The visitors are also told to keep dogs away from wildlife.

Those who own rabbits have been asked to not let them mix with the other rabbits outdoors.


On these grounds, the Pima Animal Care Center (PACC) has been demanding vaccination of outdoor-housed rabbits against RHDV2 after it was found that local pets were infected with it. As per Jennifer Wilcox, Director of Veterinary Services, has confirmed that this is the 3rd year Southern Arizona has witnessed the spread of RHDV2, but rabbits have contracted it for the very first time.

The current scenario is such that PACC had taken the charge of 15 pet rabbits, but couldn’t be saved in spite of rapid vaccination. Southern Arizona has now listed this disease as “endemic”.

Monica Dangler, PACC’s Director of Animal Services, has stated that this disease is creating a negative impact on the operations. The steps taken in this regard are working on vaccine protocol. Certain private exotic animal clinics are well-equipped with vaccination facilities for pet rabbits. The other clinics are also likely to follow.

In a nutshell, it’s imperative to ensure the protection of rabbits to prevent any further damage.

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