The Greater Vancouver Zoo cancelled hands-on sessions with rabbits over Easter following word from the SPCA that a highly infectious disease that is 95 per cent fatal to bunnies had spread to the Lower Mainland. (SPCA photo)

Hundreds of rabbits to be vaccinated at South Surrey clinic

Vets volunteering time to protect 200-plus animals

More than 200 rabbits are to be vaccinated at a clinic in South Surrey Tuesday, as part of efforts to fight a nasty virus that has killed thousands of domestic rabbits on Vancouver Island and in parts of the Lower Mainland.

According to a news release today, the Rabbitats Rescue Society effort will involve 125 rabbits rescued from the Richmond Auto Mall, eight from the Semiahmoo Animal League (SALI) farm and more than 50 rabbits in foster care.

Four veterinarians – from Richmond, Langley, Vancouver and Squamish – are volunteering their time, along with “a small army” of helpers, the release notes.

The vaccine is to protect the rabbits from rabbit hemorrhagic disease.

B.C.’s Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development issued a news release last month advising rabbit owners to take precautions after confirming that the virus – which attacks blood vessels and organs – had killed hundreds of feral rabbits across B.C., including in Delta and Nanaimo.

Most affected rabbits die suddenly, but can show signs of listlessness, a lack of co-ordination, behavioural changes or trouble breathing before death.

The outbreak prompted the BC SPCA to temporarily suspend its intake of rabbits into all Island and Lower Mainland shelters. The Greater Vancouver Zoo cancelled hands-on sessions with rabbits over Easter following word the virus had spread.

Tuesday’s vaccination effort will use a vaccine not currently approved for use in Canada, however, “it has been imported from France under an emergency permit after a colossal cooperative effort involving multiple government departments and veterinarians,” the release states.

More than 1,000 doses of the vaccine were purchased this month, and another shipment is expected next month, the ministry announced earlier this month.

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

Just Posted

Surrey students donate 2,000 pairs of socks

Initiative part of the Leo Club program

Surrey hosts grand-opening ceremony of North Surrey arena complex

‘Accessible’ facility features three sheets of ice

Lord Tweedsmuir tops Tamanawis in all-cat fight for Surrey RCMP Classic title

Panthers’ Jaeden Reid was named MVP at all-Surrey boys tournament

Trade to hometown team a ‘blessing in disguise’ for Surrey Eagles defenceman

Kieran O’Hearn gets to play in front of family, who live just minutes from South Surrey Arena

White Rock solid waste open house scheduled

Event to take place next month

VIDEO: SPCA and RCMP remove several animals, including pig, at private animal rescue in Langley

Home at 5500 block of 216th Street has undergone multiple seizures over the past five years

B.C. VIEWS: Few clouds on Horgan’s horizon

Horgan’s biggest challenge in the remainder of his term will be to keep the economy humming along

Victoria family focuses on ‘letting go, enjoying time together’ after dad gets dementia

Walter Strauss has developed an interest in music and now takes line dancing classes

B.C. forest industry grasps for hope amid seven-month strike, shutdowns, changes

Some experts say this could be worse for forestry than the 2008 financial crisis

Northern B.C. RCMP investigating alleged sexual assault in downtown Smithers

One person was transported by ambulance to hospital following RCMP investigation at Sedaz

Vancouver police probe second homicide in less than 24 hours

Woman was found dead in her Gastown home

UBC, Iranian-Canadian community create memorial scholarship in honour of victims

The Jan. 8 crash killed 176 people, including 57 Canadians

Disrespectful that Horgan won’t meet during northern B.C. tour: hereditary chief

Na’moks said he was frustrated Horgan didn’t meet with the chiefs

Most Read

l -->