A highly contagious virus was detected in a local pet rabbit that died from the disease.
Rabbit hemorrhagic disease (RHDV-2) has an estimated mortality rate of 90%, according to the Windsor/Essex County Humane Society, and anyone with a pet rabbit should consider getting it vaccinated.
The Humane Society said vaccines are not widely available in the region, but pet owners should talk to their veterinarians.
“The Humane Society is also working to obtain this vaccine so that we can ensure that our adoptable rabbits are protected,” the society said in a social media post.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has confirmed that the diagnosis of the Windsor animal took place on July 5.
“There were three other rabbits in the house, none of which showed signs of illness and have since been placed in quarantine,” the CFIA said in a statement emailed to CBC News.
“This is the second facility in Ontario where RHDV-2 has been confirmed.”
Last month, the virus was first detected in Ontario in two pet rabbits near Lambton County, according to the CFIA. It was previously found in British Columbia and Alberta.
The rabbits belonged to the same family and soon died.
The CFIA website indicates that the virus is found in most European countries, Australia, New Zealand, Cuba, and parts of Asia and Africa, and there were occasional outbreaks in the United States and Canada, in 2011, 2016, and 2018.
The CFIA said the disease is highly contagious in wild and domestic rabbits. The virus does not affect other species.
The CFIA said infected rabbits usually show symptoms within one to five days. Symptoms include fever, loss of appetite, and neurological symptoms such as difficulty walking.
“Death is common after a short period of illness. Death can also occur suddenly without signs,” the CFIA says in a fact sheet on its website.