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Possible cases of deadly wild rabbit virus reported in La Pine

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

Central Oregon / Environment / La Pine / Top Stories / Wildlife
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Carly Keenan

Carly Keenan is a multimedia journalist and producer for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Carly here.



  1. La Pine needs to take care of their own. That place is disgusting and this just proves what I always said. La Pine is the opposite of Bend and those people are all related and it’s starting to get into our water here on the west side.

    1. all it proves is that there is a natural cycle going on. your own words prove how you pretty much know nothing about everything. the only thing wrong with the water on the west side of bend is there is too many people like you hanging around drinking it. keep your bigoted views in that trashy haven you call the west side, rural oregon doesn’t need your money, presence, company, or your attitude.

      1. They need to get on top of this with lying and downplaying right away!!!! This strategy worked extraordinarily well for big fat failed and fired donnie. Soooooooo much death and misery!!!

    2. Yeah and it sounds like you are a west side rich snob who thinks your better than everyone else. Drink your own water and keep your nasty self-righteousness comments to yourself.

    3. JJ, you need a better quality of dope, everything you’re putting out is kinda messed up. Have your Mommy air out your basement once and a while to get rid of the Radon gas. But hey, No worries, Creepy China Joe Obiden will fix everything!!!!

        1. JJ, as you well know, anyone can say anything on here without proof, so get back into the basement, have another hit and let the adults talk. But hey, No worries, Creepy China Joe Obiden will fix everything!!!!

  2. So, is Dr. Ryan Scholz thinking it may be RHDV (Rabbit hemorrhagic disease) or one of the other two RHDV variants? Why was the suspected virus not named?

  3. It is a big scary world out there with lots of things that can kill you. Diseases are everywhere and they have always been natures way of limiting a population. As for all the LaPine comments here please understand that they are people too and your disrespectful comments help no one. They may not be as rich or educated as you, but they are struggling to make a living here too. They are also the ones that are doing all the hard jobs around here that you don’t want to do. Give them a break.

  4. What’s with all of the snide remarks about LaPine? Did the woman in the article deserve your toxic words? Or Barney?


    Attacks on others, as to where they live? They are cruel, small, mean, inexcusable. toxic and disrespectful.

    Bend might be special to some of you but maybe not to everybody. I live in Central Oregon, but I wouldn’t want to live in Bend. That said, that doesn’t give me the right to insult those who do live there; regardless of whether they are wealthy, middle class, or struggling.

    They have feelings, dreams, aspirations and fears. We all do.

    Why not practice the art of saying nothing if you can’t be kind.

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