Current biosecurity alerts

Strain of calicivirus detected in the ACT

RHDV2, has been confirmed as the cause of illness and death in several rabbits at the RSPCA shelter in Weston in December 2015. It likely came from contact with wild rabbits. This is only the second confirmed case of this virus in domestic rabbits in the ACT.

If you own a rabbit there are a few precautions you can take to protect your pet.

RHDV-2, initially discovered in the ACT in May this year by a research group carrying out routine monitoring, is similar to all other strains of the virus and spreads easily between rabbits. No strain of RHDV has ever been associated with disease in humans.

The virus can spread through contact with infected rabbits, objects that an infected rabbit has touched such as rabbit food, bedding, brushes and clothing/footwear. The virus can also be spread by blood sucking insects such as mosquitoes, biting flies, lice and mites.

You can help protect your pet rabbit by ensuring your fences are secure so your pet cannot leave your yard and wild rabbits cannot enter. Keep your rabbit's house clean and when you replace the hay or ground cover use fresh clean material, not material collected outside your yard.

One of the most important things you can do to protect your pet is ensure your rabbit's vaccinations are up to date and talk to your vet about your rabbit's vaccination schedule.

A vaccine against this particular virus strain is not yet available, but the current vaccine may offer partial protection and is also likely to slow virus spread in case of an outbreak.

Symptoms of RHDV-2 are very similar to RHDV in cases seen overseas however the disease is more prolonged and also affects younger rabbits

If you have noticed symptoms in your rabbit consult your veterinarian immediately.

For more information specific information about the RHDV-2 virus currently circulating in Europe please visit IDT animal health website.