Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease (RHD)

Rabbit hemorrhagic disease is a serious and extremely contagious viral disease of domesticated and wild rabbits. Morbidity and mortality rates are high in unvaccinated animals; on some farms, most or all the rabbits may die. This disease has also caused dramatic declines in some wild rabbit populations, particularly when it was first introduced.

RHD virus (RHDV) was first seen in China in 1984, and since there have been confirmed cases in 40 countries, including in Europe, the Mediterranean, Africa, Asia, Israel, the UK, Mexico, the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. RHDV2, a second strain, emerged in France in 2010, and quickly spread in Europe and the Mediterranean, and has replaced the original strain in many countries. In 2015, RHDV2 was first detected in Australia, and it spread coast-to-coast in the rabbit population in 18 months and became the dominant strain replacing RHDV1.

Symptoms may include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • High fever
  • Seizures
  • Bleeding from nose, mouth, or rectum
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Sudden death*

*Rabbits may die without showing any symptoms at all.

Field Contacts

To report sick/dead domestic rabbits:
CDFA Modesto District
(209) 491-9350
CDFA Ontario District
(909) 947-4462
CDFA Redding District
(530) 225-2140
CDFA Tulare District
(559) 685-3500
To report sick/dead wild rabbits:
CA Dept. of Fish & Wildlife - Wildlife Investigations Lab
(916) 358-2790

Contact Us

California Department of Food and Agriculture
Animal Health and Food Safety Services,
Animal Health Branch
1220 N Street
Sacramento, California 95814

  916-900-5002   Fax: 916-900-5333   ahbfeedback@cdfa.ca.gov