Press release: Vaccine authorized for recently confirmed rabbit disease

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board of animal health

---Press Release--- 
For Immediate Release

Contact: Michael Crusan,
Communications Director
Minnesota Board of Animal Health


Friday, October 1, 2021

Previous Announcements

Vaccine authorized for recently confirmed rabbit disease

St. Paul, Minn. - In response to the recent confirmation of Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus 2 (RHDV2) in Ramsey County, the Minnesota Board of Animal Health is authorizing licensed veterinarians to order and administer a RHDV2 vaccine manufactured by Medgene Labs. The vaccine is available in 25 dose vials and could start shipping to Minnesota veterinarians as early as next week.

“After consulting with our Board President and Medgene Labs, I made the decision to allow licensed veterinarians to begin procuring doses as soon as next week,” said State Veterinarian Dr. Beth Thompson. “I’m confident in this decision based on the recent USDA Center for Veterinary Biologics emergency use authorization for the experimental vaccine.”

The vaccine may only be administered by a Minnesota licensed veterinarian. Vaccines can be ordered by contacting Medgene Labs at 605-697-2600. Veterinarians must maintain the following records:

  • Animal identification or description.
  • Owner’s name and address.
  • Any adverse reactions, which should be reported to Medgene Labs.

The Board urges rabbit owners to always practice good biosecurity to keep their animals healthy. Biosecurity is a process for protecting pets or livestock from infectious diseases. Specific biosecurity actions for rabbits are outlined on the Board’s website.

RHDV2 is highly contagious and can spread through direct contact with infected rabbits or indirectly through contact with infected carcasses, blood, urine, and feces. The virus can also be present on contaminated clothing, footwear and surfaces such as cages, feed, water, and bedding. Sudden mortality in otherwise healthy rabbits is characteristic of RHDV2. Infected rabbits may be lethargic and reluctant to move, and typically die between a day and a week after becoming infected. The virus kills 70 to 90 percent of infected rabbits. There is no known risk to humans.

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The mission of the Minnesota Board of Animal Health is to protect the health of the state’s domestic animals through education and cooperation with veterinarians, producers, owners and communities.