/ Modified apr 8, 2022 9:44 a.m.

Rabbits at risk from deadly virus

PACC lost 15 animals to the RHDV2 virus.

pacc rabbits
Pima Animal Care Center

A deadly virus is spreading through the community and officials recommend immediate vaccinations for the at-risk population.

The story sounds familiar, but this time the vulnerable population is rabbits.

Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus recently killed the entire population of fifteen rabbits at the Pima Animal Care Center. The animals had been turned in by an owner concerned about their health.

"The owner had surrendered them to us because she didn't know what was going on and she knew she likely couldn't afford the care for all of them. It was it was kind of heartbreaking," said Nikki Reck, spokesperson for the center.

Reck says the disease, also called RHDV2, is highly contagious to wild and domestic rabbits but doesn't threaten other animals or humans. The virus can live for months on contaminated surfaces.

A vaccine recently became available, and Reck says rabbit owners should call an exotic animal veterinarian to arrange shots for their pets.

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