Dear fellow animal lovers! How’s life lately? We hope you can get all the rest you deserve from work and school but still, we will never have a day off for caring our favorite cuties, rabbits, right?
Happy and healthy rabbits is a blessing for every rabbit’s owner. However, such blessing won’t show out of anywhere. We have to work it out and make it happens. Once you decide to keep a rabbit, you are committed to it for a very long time. It’s a long-term commitment considering rabbits can live until 8-12 years in general. Make sure you are prepared before jump into the adventure of taking care of this cute fluffy ball from setting up the bunny-proof environment until mastering know-how of every possible matter.
One of the important know-how is recognizing what diseases could attack your rabbits including how to cure and prevent them. Some diseases may run by itself and some need more of your care or treatment. Some others could be passed to humans. Then here, we have some deadly illnesses that can kill rabbits in a day for you to know.
Rabbit Viral Haemorrhagic Disease
Have you ever heard of Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease? Also known as Rabbit Calicivirus previously, it is a highly infectious and often fatal disease. The latest outbreak we know was RHDV-2 type that happened in the UK and Ireland this April. There are currently four strains of RHD virus including RHDV-1, RHDVa, RHDV-2, and RHDV-1 K5. RHD has a mortality rate of 70 to 90% in susceptible rabbits. Due to its fatality, the virus also being released as a biocontrol measure to manage rabbits population.
The virus spreads by biting insects like mosquitos, indirect and direct contact with an infected rabbit, also can be carried by the wind. Fomites such as clothing, beddings, cages, contaminated food, feeders, and water also possible to harbor the virus.
Climate appears to play a crucial role in the transmission of RHD and virus’ durability. Naturally, most outbreaks of RHD happen in winter or spring because high temperatures in late spring and summer will considerably reduce the spread of the virus. RHD will also be more common in dry and semi-dry areas than in relatively cool and humid areas. The virus can preserve up to a month depending on climate condition, although it has been known to persist for as little as 2 days and as long as 215 days.
This disease advances rapidly from fever and lethargy to sudden death within 48-72 hours of infection in most rabbits. The clinical signs may include poor appetite, restlessness, lethargy, and fever; however, rabbits most likely dead before we know it because most of the time there are no signs of external symptoms of this disease 🙁
Caused by the myxoma virus, this disease first observed in Uruguay in laboratory rabbits in the late 19th century. Myxomatosis was introduced into Australia in 1950 and successfully control the rabbit population.
Like RHD, this disease is also spread easily by direct contact with an affected animal or by being bitten by insects like fleas and mosquitoes that have fed on an infected rabbit.
Affected rabbits may show symptoms up to 14 days after being infected or already die within that time. Symptoms including swelling, redness, ulcers, nasal and eye discharge, blindness caused by inflammation, respiratory problems, loss of appetite, and lethargy. Rabbits may also show changes in their behavior and eating habit during the incubation period.
Although we do say in the title about deadly diseases that can kill rabbits in a day, myxomatosis doesn’t actually kill rabbits in 24 hours. However, it does deadly considering that there is still no cure for it yet.
Prevention Is The Key
Both RHD and myxomatosis still has no cure up to this day. Prevention is the only way to protect your rabbits from them. Hence, we strongly suggest you give regular vaccination against both RHD and myxomatosis to your rabbits. You also want to make sure there are no areas of stagnant water in your home which attract disease vectors as well as mosquito-proof your bunnies’ cages and hutches, especially if you live near the area of wild rabbits and hares.
Oh, and on the positive side, these 2 diseases won’t be passed to other animals nor humans.
Other Causes of Instant Kill of Rabbits
Here we also want to show things—not necessarily a disease—you have to be aware of in addition to the dangerous RHD and myxomatosis. You know, just to be safe.
- Heart attack
There is a possibility for our beloved rabbits to die of fright. Loud sounds like loud music, barking dogs or screaming can frighten and shock rabbits easily, then lead to a heart attack, causing sudden death. Although we found this case rarely occurs, the chance is always there if we’re not being careful enough. Keep in mind that rabbits just as soft and gentle as they look so you might want to treat them gently and with care.
- A sudden change of temperature
Should you happen to keep indoor rabbits, remember not to taking them to play outdoors. At least not without proper shade and enough water to keep them hydrated, knowing rabbits don’t tolerate heat well and can die of heat stroke. However, if you notice signs of heat stroke (reddening of the ears, panting, etc), never put your rabbits into a cold bath immediately for it could harm them more.
In the end, make sure you fill yourself with information about rabbits before making the decision to keep them with you. Always keep in touch with your local vet and as always, asking for advice from fellow owners won’t hurt. We hope this article can enlight and help you understand more about our favorite fluffy balls. Also, we sincerely wish for you and your rabbits’ well-being. Good luck!