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More about RHDV2

  • Highly contagious - for example it just takes one touch to contaminate.
  • Capable of infecting baby rabbits still in the nest.
  • Incubation takes from 48 to 72 hours leading to rabbit's ultimate death.
  • Symptoms vary and usually not very obvious as you could easily miss noticing lack of activity, poor or no appetite, dehydration and raised temperature. Typical to the instincts of prey animals rabbits naturally avoid attracting predators. Whenever injured or sick they'll quietly huddle in a corner. Unfortunately an actual state of 'suffering in silence' could be misinterpreted as a quick, painless death!
  • Rabbits experience massive liver damage, bleeding into the abdominal cavity, blood clots in major organs (heart, lungs) resulting in heart and respiratory failure.
  • In the final stages some pets may appear paralyzed and or convulsing whilst screaming in agony.
  • This strain of virus can remain in the environment for up to 7 ½ months if weather temperatures are moderate. It can also survive freezing and or up 50 degrees Celsius for about an hour.
  • Incurable - No medical treatment available!

 RHDV (Calicivirus) information
Our pet rabbits need a protective vaccine otherwise they will be hopelessly condemned to die!
So beautifully alive one day . . .
. . . and then tragically gone the next!
(photos courtesy 'Sealed with a Lop Kiss Rabbitry')
Whilst biological control programs are in war with feral pest rabbits they're also succeeding in eradicating pet bunnies. Like any contagion a limited percentage of bunnies could survive for a time in pocketed areas. These survivors however are sitting ducks waiting for the stray bullet to come their way.
There's really nothing much we can do! Viruses are invisible and therefore able to survive or re contaminate even the most fastidious procedures. It could take just one little fly to visit any little bunny and next thing you know it's dead - the unsuspecting, vulnerable bunny - not the fly of course!
Or take for example how can you stop it arriving on just about anything or anyone such as:
  • Your cat, dog (plus the neighbours or strays), roaming foxes hunting at night, numerous birds, rodents and insects - all of these are naturally drawn to deceased rabbits and therefore major conducers for spreading disease.
  • Human transference (after having come in contact with the virus) such as yourself, family members, friends, footwear, clothing, car tyres and so on.
    (Take the time to watch the movie 'Contagion' (2011) and you'll soon see how horrifically easy it is to spread a virus!
    See trailer: http://www.imdb.com/video/imdb/vi3924270105
  • Consider that you're unable to deny feeding bunnies their necessary sources of vegetation such as grass, weeds, hay, pellets, rabbit mixes, veggies and so on and so forth.

Any of the above plus a multitude of other possible contaminants (some even suggest to include wind blowing dust particles) could potentially transport the virus on or near your bunny.

The craziest thing is for many years we haven't been able to import fancy breeds on the ridiculous off chance that they may introduce infectious diseases into Australian rabbit populations! For this reason the majority of our rabbit breeds are likely to become more and more inbred and as a natural consequence potentially introduce health issues and or a decline in breeding. Now with the onslaught of an epidemic virus so few breeds will be left they may be either on the brink of extinction or worst case scenario oblivion.

Does anyone care?

As an animal lover, please show your support by joining Facebook group: Against K 5 Virus and For a Vaccine to Save Rabbits from RHDV2: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1486751604975052/

Members of this innovative helpful site are fighting their hardest to make a difference. Pet rabbits and their devastated owners desperately need you to voice your care and concern. To date, they've never had a choice in the matter and whatever they've endured just seems to be casually ignored or has fallen on deaf ears.

You can also sign online petitions:

Link to petition appealing for an RHDV2 vaccine: https://goo.gl/mNDtGb

Link to petition against K5 release: https://goo.gl/eBTMZm  

Please help these worthy campaigners by sharing warnings and information with your friends and family as well as adding the above links to your website and various social media outlets.

If you have endured the living nightmare and feel utterly helpless there's the ‘don't get mad - get even' option. Put your name down on the group's class action list - see Facebook file:  


(if so, I'd recommend everyone keep records (including photos) to help validate their cases)

It's a great shame if numerous heartfelt petitions (including myxomatosis) to government authorities continue to be shoved on their departmental shelves to gather thick layers of dust. It's also too easy for those in power positions to ignore us so they can carry on as per usual.

RHDV2 is now the virus of choice and is currently being officially released all over the country. 

Sadly, pet rabbits will continue to be casualties of deliberately released ‘biological control warfare'. Those responsible need to be made clearly aware of their careless blunders!

One of the most effective actions is to talk to the media and hold your dead rabbits up for everyone to see! Any decent human being will surely join the protest against such absolute cruelty to animals.

If help doesn't arrive soon Australian pet rabbits will continue to decline in frightening numbers.

Not to mention the dire consequences of trying to survive continuous releases (deliberate and accidental) as well as naturally occurring outbreaks from one year to the next.

Deadly virus way too close to home!

As from October to December 2016 deaths attributed to Calicivirus (feral and or pet) in ACT and surrounding areas have been reported in: Bonner, Burra, Calwell, Deakin, Googong, Goulburn, Hackett, Holt, Latham, McGregor, Queanbeyan, Tarago, Tharwa, Theodore, Tuggeranong & Weston.

See other states listed in Facebook group files under the title ‘Update for losses . . . from June 2016 to current': https://www.facebook.com/groups/1486751604975052/files/

 * Plus the 'must see' official Rabbit Sightings Map: http://www.feralscan.org.au/rabbitscan/map.aspx?mapMode=rhdv

On the left hand side tick the box Release Sites and then view the reality of all the orange/gold stars lighting up the map of Australia like a Xmas tree! This gut-wrenching ‘real time' evidence is massively confronting. It's a frightening sight to see all those colourful stars and balloons highlighting such close proximity and helpless vulnerability to everyone's valuable pet rabbits.


Even though RHDV2 is active in my area Googong to date it hasn't arrived on our property. I have no idea why as we have an abundant number of insects and bird life as well as numerous visitors - human or other. One possibly explanation could be perhaps our home is positioned sort of in the middle of 15 acres of open grazing land rather than a bush block. For this reason we don't have any resident wild rabbits but am sure that's not the case with neighbours across the way. I'm certainly not confident however!

Although rabbit clubs advise a 4 month quarantine (following British governing body) the timeframe hasn't adjusted from the former RHDV1 to the new strain.

Taking care of others pets is a massive responsibility, which for the sake of their best interests I'd quarantine for 7 ½ months, as this is how resilient the new strain can contaminate an environment. And if or when that happens the rabbit side of my boarding services may as well close down and I'd only be able to look after guinea pigs!

As per usual it all boils down to money!

The following are examples of our government funding to eradicate all and sundry rabbits. 

Melbourne Leader news: Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt said rabbit populations were growing and the virus was part of a $1.2 million commitment to develop new rabbit controls.

Canberra Weekly: Funding for Rabbit Control "The ACT Government is supporting ACT farmers to manage rabbit populations on rural lands through $53,000 in Australian Government Funds.

Please be advised . . . I have it on good authority that there are no plans to make or supply a vaccine. First the government needs to provide necessary funding - BUT it is all very quiet on that front!!!


Who are the irresponsible culprits?

As from December 2016 the documented list of calici strains accidently or deliberately released around Australia are:

(1) RHDV1 v351 (Czech strain) - the original virus, which ‘accidentally escaped' in 1996 and then following year ‘officially' sanctioned for release. This is the only strain covered by Cylap vaccine.

(2) RHDV1 (Chinese strain, similar family to K5) - an outbreak occurred in 2012/13 though reportedly contained.

(3) RHDV1 K5 (Korean strain) - yet another apparently more powerful stain due to be released in March 2017.

(4) RHVD2 is one of thirty eight calici type viruses tested during the RVD Boost programme. Biosecurity however failed once again in yet another ‘accidentally' escaped contagion. Naturally of course the only way we find out was after an RSPCA report to the news media (December 2015) that it killed vaccinated rabbits: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/deadly-european-calicivirus-killing-pet-rabbits-in-the-act-rspca-warns-20151208-gli2g6.html Many pet rabbits also died at the time including breeders confirming the new strain via autopsy.

So, authorities were pre warned for 12 months or more that RHDV2 kills Cylap vaccinated rabbits. Since then and to this date they're knowingly making no effort to supply an upgraded vaccine. It's unfathomable how they can continue to ignore the dire and disastrous consequence they're causing to domesticated pets.

Rabbit haemorrhagic disease (RHD) boost project Published March 3, 2016
Excerpts where Dr Tanya Cox got it extremely wrong!
When asked, "Is there any vaccine available for domestic pets that maybe infected by RHD Boost? Dr Tanya Cox replied "Yes, there is, so there's been a vaccine available for the current strain of RHD and we've done some testing to ensure that the current vaccine still works." "Their animals will be safe from the release of the boost strain."
(Video timeframe 1:58 - 2:25) Source: video interview with Dr Tanya Cox, which in part misinformed the general public and provided a sense of false security: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xmjNabtcvS0
(The ability to add comments are disabled for this video - I wonder why!)

RHDV-2 in Australia and implications for current rabbit biocontrol initiatives fact sheet published in 2016: http://www.pestsmart.org.au/the-arrival-of-rhdv2-in-australia-and-implications-for-current-rabbit-biocontrol-initiatives/

Absolutely bizarre for the author/s of Rabbit Biocontrol Scientific Committee to incriminate themself by I quote:

"This new virus is referred to as RHDV2 because the mode of death is the same as RHDV1, however they are two separate viruses.  In contrast to RHDV1, RHDV2 can cause death in young kittens (3-4 weeks) and vaccinated adults. The currently available vaccine is not fully protective against disease from RHDV2.

AND believe it or not . . . "HDV2 has been reported to infect certain sub-species of hares in Europe as well as rabbits. In June 2016 it was confirmed in a small number of European Brown Hares in Australia, the only hare species present here. It is currently unclear if these were rare spillover infections from rabbits to hares, or if RHDV2 actually spreads effectively between hares as it does between rabbits

According to: RHD-Boost. Import and evaluate new rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV) variants to strengthen rabbit biocontrol. Report to the Vertebrate Pests Committee. PestSmart Toolkit publication, Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre, Canberra, Australia.

See full pdf version: http://www.pestsmart.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/RABFS9_RHDV2_4pp-24-10-2016.pdf

Those responsible can pat themselves on the back for once again getting away with ‘accidently' releasing and causing yet another bio security outbreak. Frankly, it's hard to keep up with which ones they're playing around with. It is a proven fact that we've been kept in the dark and or misinformed. One thing for sure is that Bio security manages to keep getting away with ‘Oops, accidently released another virus, oh well, haven't seen any koalas drop out of the gum trees so guess we can get away with officially releasing it.'

Playing around with viruses is unbelievably scary - surely they're answerable to defined protocols. Such outright, incompetent irresponsibility deserves answers via nothing less than an official enquiry.


To be continued . . .  


Site owner Christine Carter

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