09 Jun Rabbit hemorrhagic disease (RHDV2) confirmed in six Colorado counties
The Colorado Department of Agriculture distributed this message to veterinarians on June 8, 2020.
The CDA has confirmed cases of RHDV2 in domestic rabbits in El Paso, Montezuma, and Weld Counties. Additionally, the Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) has confirmed cases of RHDV2 in wild and feral rabbits in Alamosa, El Paso, Prowers, and Pueblo counties.
To view a map of confirmed cases in Colorado, visit CDA’s Animal Health Division RHDV2 webpage.
Reporting suspected cases
- Domestic: Veterinarians and owners must report suspected RHDV2 cases in domestic rabbits to the State Veterinarian’s Office at 303-869-9130. Disease investigations will be completed by a Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostician.
- Wildlife: To report suspect cases (sick or dead wild rabbits, hares, or pika), contact your local Colorado Parks and Wildlife office.
With incidents of RHDV2 increasing in Colorado and western states, CDA and CPW are asking the public to watch for multiple dead or sick rabbits, which can suggest RHDV2 or a sign of tularemia or plague, diseases that can cause serious illness in people. Do not handle or consume sick or dead wildlife and do not allow pets to contact or consume wildlife carcasses.
RHDV2 is highly contagious and lethal among rabbits. It does not affect humans or domestic species other than rabbits and is not related to COVID-19. RHDV-2 is considered a foreign animal disease and is of high concern at the state and federal levels.
Colorado’s first case of RHDV2 was confirmed in Alamosa County on April 17, 2020. RHDV2 cases have also been reported in both domestic and wild rabbits in New Mexico, Arizona, and Texas.
Vaccines are only available through private practicing veterinarians who have applied for and been granted permission by the USDA to import and distribute the vaccine. Veterinarians interested in importing the RHDV2 vaccine should contact the State Veterinarian’s Office at 303-869-9130.