Woman finds eight dead rabbits on her property; cases recently confirmed near Portland
LA PINE, Ore., (KTVZ) -- It's not unusual to find small animals that have contributed to the circle of life and have passed. However, when one woman found several dead rabbits in her yard, she questioned it, and learned something disturbing.
"I didn't think anything of it at first, because we have so many predators here," Heather Stadther told NewsChannel 21 on Friday. "Initially, we thought, 'Oh my gosh, it's got to be some type of toxin or a poison, to be in such a cluster.'"
Stadther's property is home to wild bunnies -- ones that stay in the same area and will even let you pet them. She first noticed something was wrong when one of the bunnies appeared to be sleeping.
The Oregon state veterinarian, Dr. Ryan Scholz, says the deaths could be from a deadly virus that's affecting both wild and domestic rabbits, but does not affect humans or other animals. He's expecting autopsy results next Monday to confirm whether that's the case.
The virus is highly contagious and usually results in death. Symptoms to look out for are lack of appetite, lethargy and difficulty breathing.
It was first identified in Milwaukie, a suburb of Portland.
Scholz says people who find a dead rabbit should contact the Oregon Department of Agriculture.
"We want to know about it, and we'd like to call them back and talk about it. We would like to know that and get it tested, so we know whether it's the virus," Scholz told NewsChannel 21 Friday.
The best way to protect your animals is through biosecurity, which consists of keeping your space and equipment clean, limiting animal interaction, and keeping your indoor-outdoor animals inside.
For more information visit http://oda.direct/rhd.