Rabbit Hemorragic Disease Virus 2


North America
OUTBREAK   2020-2022

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Although there might be signs and symptoms (red box below)  that a pet owner might discover prior to the rabbit dying, often sudden death is the first and only sign.  Carriers that do not die often shed the disease for virus for months (USDA).




MN State Board of Animal Health Press Release 


* Florida  Jan 4, 2021

*  Wyoming multiple sites Jan/Feb 2021

* Montana Feb 17, 2021
* Oregon March 23, 2021
* Idaho March 25, 2021

* South Dakota May 22, 2021
* Georgia June 22, 2021

* Minnesota Sept 2021
* New York & Kentuck Jan 2022
* Tennessee  Jan 2022

* NEW!!!  NEW JERSEY May 2022

RHDV2 (Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease V2)  is a "highly contagious disease caused by a strain of the RHD virus that is infecting and killing domestic rabbits and wild rabbits."  (USDA). Rabbit hemorrhagic disease (RHD), whether from classical RHDV strains or RHDV-2, often kills rabbits without outward signs of disease. "Many times, the only signs of the disease are sudden death and blood-stained noses caused by internal bleeding," APHIS information states.

RHDV1 was first seen in China in 1984 from rabbits imported from Germany. It has since spread to many other countries with the RHDV2 virus strain finding its way into the U.S.A., first in Ohio 2018, then Washington 2019.

For the first time ever in the United States, in 2020 there were confirmed RHDV2 cases in both wild & domestic rabbits across most of Mexico and the Southwest United States.  This foreign virus has never been identified before in these areas including: 
    Arizona          Nevada              Wyoming            South Dakota
    California       New Mexico       Montana             Georgia
    Colorado       Texas                  Oregon               Minnesota Sept '21

    Utah              Florida                Idaho                  New York - Dec '21
                                                                                Kentucky - Dec '21
                                                                                Tennessee -  Jan '22

     New Jersey-- May '22
     Arizona - May '22



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Outer Range Map
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* SCIENCE magazine

Journal of American Vet Med Association (June 2020)



While the rest of the world is understandably focused on COVID19, veterinarians, organizations and rabbit owners have been increasingly busy networking, planning and beginning to mobilize to "prevent the preventable."   


As an analogy, once the barn door is open and the virus takes hold in the wild population, it will be nearly impossible to close the door again. Because there is no USDA-approved vaccine, pet owners, breeders, vets and rescue groups are scrambling to improve biosecurity.  Many domestic rabbit owners are pushing for federal and state approval that would allow veterinarians to purchase and import the proven RHDV2 vaccines nationwide from France or Spain, anticipating the spread and the  delay to order & import the vaccine once a case is confirmed in their state.

As of October 1, 2021 only states where there are current documented cases have been given approval to import and distribute the RHDV2 vaccines  (More info see VACCINE)

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