Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus (RHDV) is a highly contagious and often fatal disease that is spreading among wild rabbits in the southwestern United States. This disease was first identified in China in 1984 and has since spread across the globe.
RHDV is not known to affect humans, but are your pet rabbits at risk?
Both wild and domestic rabbits can become infected with RHDV. According to the House Rabbit Society, domestic rabbits can become infected if they come into contact with objects, people, or other animals that have been exposed to the virus.
You can protect your pet rabbits by taking the same kinds of biosecurity precautions that we have become familiar with during the COVID-19 crisis. They include:
Keep your rabbits indoors
Wash your hands before and after handling rabbits
Change your clothes and wash them after interacting with other rabbits
Leave your shoes outside
Make sure your hay and feed does not come from outbreak areas
Don’t feed your rabbits plants from outside
Quarantine new rabbits for two weeks
Be especially alert if your other pets (dogs and cats) come into contact with wild rabbits outside
Use flea and tick treatments and make sure your window screens are secure against insects
Is there a vaccine for Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease and should you vaccinate your house rabbit?
There is an annual vaccine for RHDV. It is not widely available, but if you live in an outbreak area, your veterinarian may be able to obtain a European vaccine. The House Rabbit Society recommends that concerned owners talk to an experienced rabbit veterinarian about RHDV and the vaccine.
Be sure to check out the Society’s RHDV web page for much more information on the outbreak and how to best protect your own pet rabbit.
Cats allowed to roam outdoors face a variety of health risks, from getting hit by cars and attacked by other animals to an increased risk for infection by internal and external parasites.
A recent study of parasite infection rates for outdoor cats vs. indoor cats around the world has led to some interesting findings.
Cats allowed to roam outdoors are 2.77 times more likely to become infected with parasites than indoor only cats. The surprise finding in this study relates to what parts of the globe parasite infection risks are highest.
You might think that cats in warmer climates have an increased risk of parasite infection because there tends to be a greater concentration of parasites in these warmer places.
In reality, the opposite was found to be true: infection rates decrease with higher parasite diversity, and cats in northern climates are a greater risk for infection. Risk of infection goes up a surprising 4% with each degree of increase in latitude.
Why is this? The researchers note that rodents (a common feline prey animal) and other species of wildlife display similar increased infection rates.
Experts recommend that cat owners restrict access to the outdoors for their pets, both to preserve their cats’ overall health and well-being, and also to reduce the risk of parasite transmission to humans.
As spring approaches and the weather gets warmer in San Diego, you may want to explore some new hiking trails, and what better hiking buddy is there than your dog?! Grab the leash, put on your hiking gear, and get going! However, it is important to remember a few things when bringing your pup along.
Extending the leash and letting your furry friend explore the area is great, but be careful of your surroundings because you might end up having to untangle him from trees and bushes.
If you want to let him off the leash, first make sure it is allowed and that he will not run off. Even the most obedient dogs might run after something that catches their attention.
Keep the leash nearby to clip onto your dog when passing by other hikers.
Make sure your pup’s ID tags are current and attached properly.
ALWAYS pick up after your dog! Other hikers don’t want to stumble across that.
And last, but not least, make sure to bring a collapsible water bowl and to have enough water for both you and your furry friend.
Now that you’re fully prepared to bring your pup along for a hike, get out there and don’t forget to have fun!
Looking to get more exercise for your dog or cat? Exercising can be boring, but here are some fun ways to get some exercise in for both you and your pet! While walking your dog, try mixing in some intervals of jogging or running to burn some extra calories. Also, while playing fetch, race your dog to the ball. This is a fun way to play with your dog and exercise your own cardio. It’s easy to get your dog to work out, but cats are just as simple.
If you want to get your cat to work out more, try shining a flashlight at the wall or the ground and watch your cat play with it. It may be one of the oldest tricks in the book, but it’s a great way to get some cardio in for your cat. Another great way to get some exercise for your cat is to let it explore an empty paper bag or box. This allows your cat to jump and climb while having fun at the same time.