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RHDV-2 Vaccine Clinic

ANNOUNCEMENT: Vaccine clinics now booking!

  • May 22nd (initial) and June 12th (booster)

Clinics are by appointment only, so call us at (860) 347-8387 to sign up! The price of $150 per rabbit is due at the time of booking.

Rabbit owners should be made aware of the dangers of rabbit hemorrhagic disease, a deadly and contagious disease that has begun spreading throughout the United States. 

While Connecticut has not yet had any reported cases of RHDV-2, in December of 2021 a case was confirmed in New York. The virus is highly contagious and spreads rapidly among both wild and domestic rabbit populations, and can survive outside a host for several months and be carried on surfaces such as shoes, tires, insects, bedding, food, and more. With an over 90% mortality rate, symptoms can appear very suddenly and there are no medications or treatments to prevent them.

A vaccination for the virus has existed for many years in Europe and other parts of the world, but not in the USA. In October 2021, MedGene, an American vaccine manufacturing company, received emergency authorization from the USDA to offer a vaccine. Connecticut's state veterinarian recently approved use of the vaccine. Supplies are very limited as only veterinarians approved by the state can administer these vaccines, including Dr. Sojka from the Avian & Exotics specialty department at Pieper Veterinary. To help assist in the distribution of these vital vaccines, Pieper will be hosting a vaccine clinic available for any rabbits owned in the state of Connecticut. This two-part clinic will provide a safe and simple way to protect your beloved pets from the dangers of RHD.

The RHDV-2 Vaccine Clinic is a two-part clinic that will take place at 730 Randolph Rd in Middletown, CT:

  • Price per rabbit is $150, which includes both vaccines and identification
  • Rabbits must attend both days to receive two doses of the vaccine for full immunity
  • The state of CT requires vaccinated rabbits be identified by either a microchip or an ear tattoo, which will be included with the first visit
  • Rabbits must be 4 weeks of age or older and in good health
  • Rabbit owners must provide proof of residency in CT

Frequently Asked Questions:

How do I sign up for Pieper's vaccine clinic?

Please call (860) 347-8387 and let us know you'd like to sign up for the rabbit vaccine clinic and we'll be happy to assist with getting your rabbit's appointment scheduled. This clinic is by appointment only - supplies are limited, and walk-ins will not be accepted. Please note that payment is due at the time of booking.

Can I bring more than one rabbit to the clinic?

Yes, we encourage all rabbits in the household to receive this vaccine. Please let us know how many rabbits you'll be bringing when you call to schedule, as supplies are limited.

Is the RHDV-2 vaccine safe?

Yes, the vaccine has been found to be both safe and effective during trials in healthy young experimental rabbits. The most common side effects included some cases of slight fever, lethargy, and swelling at the site of the injection, which resolved within 48 hours.  

Why does my rabbit need identification after the vaccine?

Because there is currently no test to distinguish vaccinated from unvaccinated animals, the state veterinarian of CT requires that all rabbits have a permanent identifier. This is done by either a microchip (which is also important to have if your rabbit ever gets lost), or a small ear tattoo for farm rabbits. The vaccines will also be noted in your pet's medical records.

My rabbit needs a check-up/nail trim/other problem looked at - can they get that done during the vaccine clinic?

No, the vaccine clinic is only for the RHDV-2 vaccine - no other vaccines, physical examinations, nail trims, or other services will be provided. If your rabbit is unwell, please contact their primary care veterinarian to schedule an appointment, as we cannot vaccinate sick rabbits.

My rabbit doesn't have a primary care veterinarian - can they still attend the vaccine clinic?

Yes, you will be asked for your primary care veterinarian's information when scheduling but all rabbits who live in the state of CT are welcome. If you do have a primary care veterinarian, they will be sent medical records notifying them that your rabbit has been vaccinated.

How can I protect my rabbits from RHDV-2?

Because this virus is so contagious and can survive for many months on surfaces, it's important to be careful of any potential exposure. Make sure to change or sanitize clothing or shoes if you interact with other rabbits, keep shoes away from your rabbits, do not allow your pets to have contact with wild rabbits or other pets outside your home, sanitize any equipment or cages regularly, and do not feed plants or grasses found outside. If you have a rabbit at home and are bringing home a new rabbit, keep them quarantined from each other for at least 30 days. Your rabbit's veterinarian can provide more guidelines and suggestions based on your rabbit's lifestyle.

What are the symptoms of RHDV-2?

Because this disease progresses very quickly, rabbits will often display only minor symptoms or even none at all before sudden death. Some symptoms include fever, lethargy, bleeding, and weakness. There are unfortunately no treatments available, which is why vaccinating your rabbits and being safe about their access to other rabbits is the best thing you can do to help keep them safe and healthy. 

 

Further Reading:

For Pet Owners

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For Referring Vets

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