Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus 2
RHDV2 is a highly contagious and deadly rabbit disease that infects wild and domestic rabbits, hares, and related species. It cannot be transmitted to people or other domestic animals. The mortality rate for the RHDV2 variant in the U.S. is approximately 90%. There is no treatment for RHDV2. We must therefore take steps to prevent its transmission.
We'll keep updating this page to indicate where confirmed outbreaks are located and provide tips for Los Angeles rabbit caretakers.
Credit James Wilson for the above perimeter map of the Southwest U.S. outbreak as of May 22, 2021. Note: Cases have also been confirmed in Florida.
For a link to the official USDA map of confirmed cases by county, click here.
The best way to protect your rabbits from RHDV2 is through a combination of vaccination, indoor housing, and biosecurity measures.** Here is a handout you can print and share with other rabbit caretakers. rhdv.pdf
Scroll to the bottom of the page for a list of veterinarians who have ordered vaccine. If you adopted a rabbit from Los Angeles Rabbit Foundation after June 30, 2020, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for the date of your rabbit's vaccination, so that you know when to schedule the annual booster.
Here are some things you can do to help protect your rabbits from the virus:
- Keep your rabbits indoors 100% of the time. If your rabbits are not indoors now, it's time to consider moving them inside.
- Do not wear your outside shoes in the home. Practice keeping shoes outside if you don't normally do this, and set aside "indoor" footwear.
- Avoid contact with rabbits or hares outside the home. Plan what to do if you volunteer at an animal shelter, or have friends with rabbits you watch or visit. See tips from www.rabbit.org/rhdv to minimize the risk of spreading the virus on your clothing, shoes, and surfaces, using shoe covers and disinfecting with recommended products only in recommended concentrations. Effective disinfectants include: bleach (1:10 dilution), potassium peroxymonosulfate (Virkon), accelerated hydrogen peroxide (Prevail, Accel, and Peroxigard). Do not use these on or around your rabbits.
- Keep mosquitoes and flies out of the home with window and door screens.
- Keep dogs and other pets that go outdoors separate from your rabbits. Plan what to do if you have other pets that go outside, and consider flea control for them if you don't have it already. If your dog goes on hikes, be careful to wash paws with soapy water and not allow your pup to go into the same areas as your rabbit.
- Do not feed greens that you have foraged (dandelions from the yard, for example). Look for commercial greens sources in areas that haven't had confirmed RHDV2 cases. Leafy greens that are grown in a greenhouse are probably safe. There is no way to truly "sterilize" leafy greens and therefore, it's better to cut back on greens a bit to minimize any potential virus load, rather than attempt to clean them with any commercial cleaner that may be more of a risk to your rabbit. It does make sense to rinse vegetables thoroughly to reduce general contaminants and dirt that could have virus sticking to them. Consider growing leafy greens in indoor hydroponic or aerogardens.
- Feed hay that has been harvested at least 105 days prior. If you buy relatively fresh hay from a hay barn, find out where that hay was harvested and avoid hay from outbreak areas. Then store the hay for 3-4 months to minimize risk before feeding it. Hay should be stored indoors only away from rodents or insects. You'll want to store it in cardboard boxes or other breathable container, or the hay could mold. Pre-packaged hay at least 3 months past harvest is likely safe.
- Keep in mind that adherence to all the biosecurity measures above is no guarantee your rabbit will not be exposed to the virus. That is why most exotic veterinarians recommend vaccination. For more information on RHDV, including symptoms, information about the vaccines, and more, please see www.rabbit.org/rhdv.
If you see a deceased rabbit whose cause of death is unknown, do NOT touch the rabbit.
- For domestic rabbits, contact California Department of Food and Agriculture at: 909-947-4462.
- For wild rabbits, contact California Department of Fish and Wildlife at: 916-358-2790.
Veterinarians in the Greater Los Angeles Area Vaccinating for RHDV2
Contact your primary veterinarian first to see if s/he is carrying the vaccine.
Not all veterinarians want to be listed publicly and some may not be taking
new clients. Those listed below will be carrying the vaccine and accepting new clients.
Please be patient and polite with veterinary staff! This is new to all of us.
VCA Arden Animal Hospital
407 Arden Ave.
Glendale, CA 91203
Call: 818-246-2478 (currently vaccinating)
Point Vicente Animal Hospital
31270 Palos Verdes Drive W.
Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275
Call: 310-265-9500 (currently vaccinating)
Northwood Animal Hospital
13925 Yale Ave.
Irvine, CA 92620-2669
Call: 949-559-1992 (currently vaccinating)
Westminster Veterinary Group
6621 Westminster Blvd.
Westminster, CA 92683
Call: 714-899-1100 (currently vaccinating)
2421 Wilshire Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90403
Call: 310-828-4587 (currently vaccinating)
VCA West Los Angeles
1900 S. Sepulveda
Los Angeles, CA 90025
310-473-2951 (currently vaccinating)
Exotic Animal Veterinary Center
171 N. Altadena Dr., Suite 120
Pasadena, CA 91107
Call: 626-405-1777 (currently vaccinating)
ACCESS Specialty Animal Hospitals
Culver City, CA 90232
Call: (310) 558-6100 (currently vaccinating)
Animal Medical Center
91 E Grand Blvd #102
Corona, CA 92879
Call: 951- 547-1795 (currently vaccinating)
Baker Bristol Pet Hospital
2976 Bristol St.
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Call: 714-546-0010 (currently vaccinating)
East Ventura Animal Hospital
10225 Telephone Rd., Unit D
Ventura, CA 93004
(805) 647-8430 (currently vaccinating)