08 Oct Colorado State Veterinarian’s Office approves veterinarians to administer new RHDV2 vaccine for domestic rabbits
The following information was distributed by the Colorado Department of Agriculture on October 6, 2021.
Medgene Labs, Brookings, SD, has been granted permission by the Center for Veterinary Biologics (CVB) to sell an experimental Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus Type 2 (RHDV2) vaccine under emergency use authorization. The Medgene product is an inactivated (killed) recombinant subunit vaccine that builds immunity to RHDV2 specific antigenic proteins in the rabbit. The vaccine is administered as a subcutaneous injection and is a 2-dose regimen, with the booster dose being delivered 21 days following.
The Colorado State Veterinarian’s Office has provided approval for Colorado licensed veterinarians to procure and administer the Medgene RHDV2 vaccine to protect the domestic rabbit population in our state.
RHDV2 is a highly contagious and fatal foreign animal disease that affects both domestic and wild rabbits. It has spread across 14 states in the U.S. since April 2020 and has been classified as stable/endemic in the wild rabbit population in much of the western United States. An updated map of wild and domestic cases in Colorado, as well as RHD guidance documents, can be found on CDA’s RHDV2 website at: colorado.gov/rhd
Until recently, there were no U.S. licensed RHDV2 vaccines available. Since the first outbreak in the Southwest in 2020, state veterinarians have worked with the CVB to permit and approve the import of vaccines licensed in the European Union to control outbreaks. The two killed vaccines, Eravac and Filavac, were allowed under a conditional use permit and vaccination was required to be done by a veterinarian. CVB has indicated they intend to phase out these import permits now that the Medgene RHDV2 vaccine is available.
As of October 1, 2021, Medgene has been approved to start distribution of the vaccine. The company intends to achieve conditional use by the end of the year, and full approval by mid-2022. Colorado veterinarians can order the vaccine by contacting Medgene directly at 605-697-2600. Additional information can be found at: https://medgenelabs.com/rhdv2/
Recommendations for Veterinary Use in Domestic Rabbits
Emergency Use/ Conditional Approval Status
- Veterinarians should maintain vaccination records as for any routine vaccination and conforming to state licensure expectations. Meat-type rabbits vaccination records should be kept at the herd level, similar to other livestock, rather than at the individual animal level.
- Established vaccine withdrawal periods must be followed for meat-type rabbits used for human consumption (21 days).
- Veterinarians would not be required to issue an official certificate and would not be required to administer a tattoo, microchip, or official identification.
This guidance covers the use of vaccines in domestic rabbits only. Wildlife agencies will be responsible for developing guidance for wild rabbit populations.