B.C government warning pet rabbit owners of a fast spreading virus that has already killed hundreds of feral rabbits.
Provincial Wildlife Veterinarian, Dr. Helen Schwantje says in February they were investigating whether some dead rabbits found on Vancouver Island were poisoned or not.
“They came back the next week with a diagnosis of rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus. Which is a very rare virus in Canada. It’s only been recognized two other times in the East, and never before in British Columbia.”
Dr. Schwantje says the virus is characterized by how quickly it spread and kills rabbits, and because it is new to B.C, they are unsure how it’ll impact rabbits here.
“So it has left the Island as well. And that has prompted us to contact the media and let people know that this is a very dangerous situation for pet rabbits.”
As for whether this could impact rabbits in the Kamloops area?
“Rabbits in the Interior, such as snowshoe hares, may or may not be sensitive to it.”
Dr. Schwantje adding, to prevent further spread, do not release a domestic rabbit into the wild or take one out of the wild, and be extra careful about hygiene.