|Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Detected
Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease (RHD) is a
serious disease in rabbits that has been detected in
California. RHD is not a food safety concern and the
disease holds no risk to humans.
owners and veterinarians are advised to learn about RHD and
how to protect rabbits.
As of February 2021, RHD has been
detected in both wild and domestic rabbit populations
throughout Los Angeles County. See
an updated list of California counties where RHD has been
Update: As of October 2021, a U.S. manufactured RHD vaccine
is now available for distribution in California and other
states on this
list. The vaccine is a 2 dose series, spaced 21
days apart, and then boostered once a year thereafter.
A rabbit is considered to be 'protected' from RHD 14 days
after the second dose. The U.S. vaccine is considered
safe for rabbits at least 28 days old. More
information about this vaccine is available on the
here. Check with your veterinarian
to see if they offer this vaccine for your rabbit. For
both vaccinated and unvaccinated rabbits, it is still very
important to practice good biosecurity and to learn how to
protect your rabbit from the virus.
Notice of Quarantine - As of May 12, 2020 - No rabbit,
hare, or their product (meat, pelts, hides, carcasses, etc.)
or equipment used to process rabbits may enter California
from states or counties where RHD has been diagnosed within
the previous year.
Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease - California Department of
Food and Agriculture (CDFA)
Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Frequently Asked Questions -
Quick Facts about Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease -
California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW)
Keeping Your Rabbit Safe From Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease -
To Keep Your Clinic and Patients Safe from Rabbit
Hemorrhagic Disease - CDFA
General Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfection of RHDV
Contaminated Premises - USDA
Guia general para la limpieza y desinfeccion de
instalaciones contaminadas con el virus de la enfermedad
hemorragica de los conejos (RHDV) - USDA
Deadly Disease Detected in California Wild Rabbits For the
First Time - CDFW
Notice of Required Action Pursuant to Quarantine - CDFA
Interactive Map - RHDV2 Affected Counties - United
States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
RHDV2 Vaccine Frequently Asked Questions - USDA
When was RHD first detected in California?
The first case of RHD was confirmed on May 13, 2020 when the
California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) identified
a wild jackrabbit in Palm Springs, one of 10 that had died,
that tested positive for the virus. The virus has also been
found in wild and domestic rabbits in New Mexico, Colorado,
Arizona, Texas and Mexico since March 2020.
What is RHD?
Rabbit hemorrhagic disease can be caused by two different,
related viruses, RHDV1 and RHDV2. The current outbreak
is due to the RHDV2 virus. It is highly contagious and
affects rabbits, both domesticated and wild. Of
rabbits that are exposed to the virus, almost all die.
How can rabbits get RHD?
Rabbits can catch the virus by inhalation, ingestion, or by
absorption through scrapes and wounds. It can be
transmitted by direct contact with an infected rabbit or by
contact with an object, person, clothing, or equipment that
has encountered an affected rabbit. Rabbits are also
able to catch the virus through consumption of contaminated
water or food. Insects can spread the virus over long
What symptoms do rabbits have with RHD?
Many times rabbits do not show signs before suddenly dying.
If they do show signs, they may show fever, inappetance,
lethargy, muscle spasms, breathing difficulties, blue
colored lips, or bleeding from the mouth and nose. It
can take between 1-5 days from the time a rabbit is exposed
to the virus before it develops symptoms.
Can humans catch RHD?
RHD does not affect humans or domestic animals other than
How can I prevent RHD?
The most important way to prevent the disease is to take
precautions to prevent exposing your rabbits to the virus.
If rabbits are housed outside,
house them off the ground when possible.
Do not use material from outside for
food or bedding.
Do not allow wild rabbits to come into your
yard and try to prevent dogs, cats, birds,
and other animals from bringing rabbit
carcasses onto your property. If you
do find deceased rabbits, contact the health
spread on your hands or
clothing. After handling a
rabbit, wash your hands. Avoid
handling rabbits that are not yours.
Before handling rabbits in different
locations, change clothes and shoes as well
as wash your hands. Ensure that
everyone who visits your rabbits washes
their hands thoroughly before touching your
rabbits and wears protective clothing such
as coveralls, shoes covers, hair covers and
Avoid borrowing equipment.
If you need to borrow equipment or if you
buy used equipment, thoroughly scrub with a
10% bleach and water solution (1 part
bleach, 9 parts water),
leaving it to
soak for at least 10 minutes before rinsing
and letting dry.
Do not add new rabbits.
If you must, make sure they are kept in a
separate housing area. Do not use the
same equipment for the new and old rabbits.
If you find a deceased rabbit,
report it to Veterinary Public Health at
213-288-7060 or email this
reporting form to
the body, spray the outside of each bag with
diluted bleach (1 part bleach, 9 parts
water), and then dispose of the bag into an
outdoor garbage receptacle. Wash your
hands thoroughly and change clothes or
disinfect all clothing/footwear/equipment
used before handling other rabbits.
For additional instructions, click
Is there a vaccine for RHD?
As of October 2021, a U.S. manufactured RHDV vaccine (Medgene)
is now available for distribution in California and other
states on this
Medgene vaccine is a 2 dose series, spaced
21 days apart and then boostered once a year
vaccine is considered effective and a rabbit
is considered 'protected' from RHD 14 days
after the second dose
U.S. vaccine is considered safe for rabbits
at 28 days old and older
protection from the vaccine is not immediate
and is not 100% effective against infection,
it is very important to keep both vaccinated
and unvaccinated rabbits safe from RHDV with
strict preventive measures (see above for
'How can I prevent RHD?').
information about this vaccine is available
on the manufacturer's website
Check with your veterinarian to see if they
offer this vaccine for your rabbit.
Veterinarians that were assigned import
permits by USDA/CDFA for the international
RHD vaccines (Filavac, Eravac) may still
import vaccines until their permit expires
Where can I get my rabbit vaccinated for RHD?
Contact your primary veterinarian first to see if their
veterinary clinic carries the RHD vaccine. A brief
listing of vet clinics that may carry the RHD vaccine can be
here. *Please note that this list is provided as a
starting point to aid in connecting rabbit owners to
veterinarians that offer the RHD vaccine. This list is
not complete and Los Angeles County Department of Public
Health does not endorse any individual clinic, veterinarian,
or rescue listed.
How can I report a potential RHD rabbit?
Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease is a reportable condition in Los
Angeles County as well as in California and in the United
States, in general.
To report a case in Los Angeles County:
-7060 and ask to speak to the
veterinarian on duty (Monday-Friday,
the reporting form
here and email to
firstname.lastname@example.org or fax to
To report a case outside of Los Angeles County:
For More Information:
Regulatory Diseases of Concern in Rabbits - CDFA
Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease In the United States - USDA
Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Factsheet - USDA
List O: Disinfectants For Use Against RHDV2 - USDA
To stay up to date on emerging animal health issues,
veterinary professionals are encouraged to join the Animal
Health Alert Network (AHAN) to receive updates and alerts
via email. Complete the online form
fill out the
form by hand and email it to email@example.com.
Last updated: October 27, 2021