Back in May, I wrote about the very deadly Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus 2, a fearsome sequel to the RHD virus that’s plagued European rabbits for years. Last year the RHD2 mutation spread to the U.S., taking many long-eared lives, both in the wild and in living rooms. But tails-up: there’s new developments.
First, the Bad News
For rabbit lovers and their furry friends, Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease is the other pandemic. It’s both highly contagious and extremely lethal. Any bunny you care about should get vaccinated if you live in an affected area of the country. If you haven’t heard of it before, you should read more about RHD.
Because this virulent virus is so contagious, it continues to spread across the U.S.. For example: in May, 2021 it was fairly contained to the Southwest. But by September the first cases were confirmed in Minnesota. The House Rabbit Society is maintaining a useful map of affected areas on their web site.
As I described in my previous post, getting your bun vaccinated hasn’t been straightforward. Vaccines have had to be shipped from Europe and have only been available for rabbits in states with confirmed cases. Further, the hassle and expense of importing the vaccines was left up to individual vets, many of whom didn’t have time, money, or interest in acquiring them. So they’ve been hard to get, even in those affected states.
But that might be about to change.
The Good News
As of October 1, 2021, U.S.-based Medgene Labs received emergency use authorization from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for a domestically-produced vaccine! Now we can access their new, RNA-based shot for bunnies. Woo hooo!
The vaccine’s here in our home state of California as of October 4. Check with your state’s Department of Food and Agriculture to find out when it will be available where you are.
This development should help make immunization easier and maybe even cheaper to get in America than the previously available alternatives. (In fact, vets are no longer allowed to import the European shots.) Plus, unlike its forbears, this vaccine is produced without the need to kill any rabbits. So we can all breathe a little easier, knowing that not only our buns are protected, but no others were harmed in the process.
Our guys, Finnegan and Moraea, were due for their second year follow-up jabs in August. We wasted no time getting their boosters. So, we missed our chance to get the new vaccine this year, but we’re looking forward to getting it next year and for many years to come! (Well, those of us not facing a needle in the fur!)
The Fluffy Tail of This Blog Post
It’s great to see progress in the fight to protect our sweet puff-tails from deadly RHD2. Remember to stay informed, and if it’s available where you live, take advantage of this great new vaccine!