Vancouver Island group cancels annual rabbit show because of deadly virus

A disease that is deadly to rabbits has prompted the Vancouver Island Rabbit Breeders Association to cancel its annual show

A wild rabbit grazes in Nanaimo, B.C. in this Feb.2, 2018 photo. A disease that is deadly to rabbits has prompted the Vancouver Island Rabbit Breeders Association to cancel its annual show. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Dirk Meissner

A disease that is deadly to rabbits has prompted the Vancouver Island Rabbit Breeders Association to cancel its annual show.

A notice posted on the association’s website says its 100th anniversary show in Victoria has been cancelled because rabbit hemorrhagic disease has been confirmed in the Vancouver Island cities of Nanaimo and Comox.

The illness, which can kill affected European rabbits within 36 hours, has also been reported in Delta, and B.C.’s chief wildlife veterinarian has said the virus has already killed hundreds of feral rabbits.

Related: Province warning rabbit owners after confirmed cases of deadly virus

Related: Virus killing rabbits on mid Island

Related: Rabbit haemorrhagic disease confirmed in the Comox Valley

The association says it intends to reschedule the show as soon as concerns about the spread of the disease have eased.

There is no vaccine in Canada for the virus, which has only been reported three other times in this country, but the B.C. government says the illness is not known to affect native North American rabbits, cats, dogs, horses or humans.

Concerns about the rapid spread of rabbit hemorrhagic disease prompted the Greater Vancouver Zoo to remove its rabbits from its petting zoo over the Easter weekend and those animals remain under quarantine.

The Canadian Press

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