The B.C. government is warning rabbit owners in the mid Island after three dead, feral rabbits were found to have a virus. (News Bulletin file)

Virus killing rabbits on mid Island

Three dead rabbits, found Tuesday in Nanaimo, had disease caused by calicivirus

The B.C. government is warning rabbit owners in Nanaimo and the mid-Island area to be cautious after a large number of dead rabbits were found in the Vancouver Island University area.

An unusually large number of dead rabbits were found around Vancouver Island University and Rotary Bowl stadium Tuesday, with the university, Nanaimo Animal Control Services and B.C. SPCA looking into the matter.

RELATED: A dozen dead rabbits discovered at Nanaimo field

In a press release issued Friday, March 2, the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development said three of the rabbits were tested and found to have “rabbit haemorrhagic disease, caused by a calicivirus.”

It is suspected other rabbits died of the same cause and more rabbits will undergo testing in the coming days.

“Rabbit haemorrhagic disease is an extremely infectious and lethal disease of rabbits,” said the press release. “It is the third confirmed diagnosis of this virus in Canada, and the first in British Columbia. The disease is exclusive to rabbits. Other animals, including dogs and cats, cannot be infected.”

Humans are not at risk either, the ministry said, but it also recommends not releasing domestic rabbits into the wild at any time.

“As well, rabbit owners should take precautions when disposing of any rabbit remains, and contact their veterinarian for more information. Rabbit calicivirus is a pathogen, which affects only European rabbits, not native rabbits,” the ministry said.

reporter@nanaimobulletin.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Award-winning documentary shares the modern story of Huu-ay-aht First Nations

Broadcast premiere of documentary will take place in Port Alberni on Jan. 29

Australian investigators head to C-130 plane crash site

B.C. gov’t makes statement, sends condolences to Coulson Aviation

Veteran Island journalist battles cancer through pioneering treatment

Vancouver Island rallies around JR Rardon and family during stay in Seattle

Coulson Aviation C-130 crashes in Australia, killing three on board

Three people are confirmed dead in the crash in New South Wales

VIDEO: Rare ‘ice circle’ spotted on Kamloops river

An ice circle or ice pan, has formed in the chilly waters just east of the Yellowhead Bridge

Uber, Lyft approved for ride-hailing in Lower Mainland

Kater Technologies Inc.’s application was rejected

B.C. man rescued after getting trapped headfirst in well as water level rose

The rescue involved crews from Oak Bay and Saanich

RCMP investigating sexual allegation against Lower Mainland police officer

Delta officer suspended while the alleged off-duty incident involving a co-worker is investigated

Former Mountie, sports coach convicted of sex abuse in B.C. granted day parole

Alan Davidson was sentenced to almost six years for abusing seven boys in the late 1970s and early 1990s

VIDEO: Person in wheelchair narrowly avoids collision with car in Kelowna

There were no injuries in the scary looking near-accident last week in Rutland

Here’s what Canada is doing to stop the coronavirus from getting in

Health officials are monitoring multiple possible cases in Canada

B.C. still struggling to control non-resident medical care fraud

Unpaid bills, out-of-province claimants a costly legacy of MSP

Most Read