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Wyoming Game and Fish monitoring dead rabbits

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Wyoming Game and Fish

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (KIFI/KIDK)-Wyoming Game and Fish is asking state residents to be on the watch for dead rabbits in their yards, rural property, and other outdoor areas. The agency is collecting wild rabbit carcasses to test for Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus 2, known as RHDV2. Testing is key to monitor spread of the disease.

Game and Fish has confirmed the presence of the disease in a wild eastern cottontail in Albany County. The disease has also been confirmed in California, Nevada, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and Colorado.

RHDV2 is fatal to rabbits and hares.  35-50% of those infected will die.

Samantha Allen, Game and Fish state wildlife veterinarian, said all of Wyoming’s rabbits and hares are susceptible — that includes game and nongame species like cottontail rabbits, jack rabbits and potentially, pygmy rabbits. Domestic rabbits are also at risk; however, other domestic pets and livestock are not at risk from the disease. “Any rabbit could become infected with the disease  — so it could be a cottontail living in your yard or the one you see while hiking,” said Allen. “Please report any dead rabbits you find. Testing these carcasses is the only way to know how the disease is spreading in Wyoming.”

The disease does not pose a threat to humans, but rabbits carry other diseases which can…like tularemia and plague. The public should not touch or pick up dead rabbits but are asked to note the location and call Game and Fish Wildlife Health Lab at 307-745-5865 or nearest Game and Fish office.

RHDV2 is a reportable disease in the United States and Wyoming. Anyone suspecting the disease in domestic rabbits is required to report to the State Veterinarian and USDA APHIS immediately. Veterinarians should contact USDA-APHIS or the Wyoming State Veterinarian’s office at (307) 857-4140 or (307) 777-6440.

News / Top Stories / Wyoming
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