VHD is highly infectious and presentation ranges from sudden death (with or without bleeding from the orifices), to a longer disease course of three to nine days. Until vaccination becomes more routine, biosecurity is key to prevent the disease from spreading.
It can be spread by:
- Contact of a rabbit with inanimate objects contaminated by the virus (i.e. via fomites). Such object would include clothing, shoes, and car and truck tires.
- Direct contact of a rabbit with an infected rabbit or the faeces of an infected rabbit.
- Contact with rabbit products such as fur, meat or wool from infected rabbits.
- Insects, birds, and animals such as rodents are known to spread the virus by acting as indirect hosts. They can transport the disease, for example, from an infected rabbit to an unaffected rabbit.
- Humans can spread the virus to their rabbits if they have been in contact with infected rabbits or in contact with objects contaminated by the virus, including feces from an infected rabbit.
- The virus can remain active in the environment for up to 100 days
Blog written by Gemma Barham