Rupert the therapy bunny sidelined due to deadly virus outbreak

Chilliwack’s famous therapy rabbit quarantined for his own safety, people not at risk

Rupert the therapy bunny has been sidelined from his volunteer work, due to a deadly virus outbreak among rabbits.

Rupert has been featured in the past in The Progress, as he visits patients at Chilliwack General Hospital on a regular basis to comfort them in their rooms, and brighten up the spirits of pediatric patients. But when the outbreak of rabbit haemorrhagic disease was announced, Rupert and his handler Norm Keller immediately stopped public appearances.

“There has been an outbreak of ‘Rabbit haemorrhagic disease’ in Nanaimo, B.C.,” they announced on Rupert Bunny’s Facebook page on March 2. “This is reported to be a very contagious airborne disease fatal to rabbits, which doesn’t affect other animals. It is reported to be easily transported/transmitted so Rupert will be under quarantine and not visiting for the near future.”

READ: Rabbit owners in the region warned about deadly virus

Rabbit owners across B.C. and Washington are being asked to take precautions, by the B.C. government after a large number of dead rabbits were found in the Vancouver Island University area.

“Rabbit haemorrhagic disease is an extremely infectious and lethal disease of rabbits,” said Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. “It is the third confirmed diagnosis of this virus in Canada, and the first in British Columbia. The disease is exclusive to rabbits. Other animals, including dogs and cats, cannot be infected.”

Humans are not at risk, so the precautions are for Rupert’s and other rabbits’ safety, not the patients he was visiting.

“As well, rabbit owners should take precautions when disposing of any rabbit remains, and contact their veterinarian for more information. Rabbit calicivirus is a pathogen, which affects only European rabbits, not native rabbits,” the ministry said.

The quarantine lasts 15 weeks from the last reported, which could mean Rupert will be at home for quite some time. On Rupert’s Facebook page, they’ve been sharing the most up-to-date information from the Dewdney Animal Hospital. They recently reported that a case of the virus has been detected on the mainland.


@CHWKcommunity
jpeters@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

B.C. declares state of emergency as wildfires rage

More than 3,300 firefighters are battling more than 500 fires

Port Hardy Fire Rescue knocks down wildland fire

PHFR members responded to the scene, located the fire, and contained it to the immediate area.

Second annual Port McNeill & District Chamber of Commerce golf tournament

Golf Holes #2 and #6 are Hole-in-One opportunities, each with a cash prize of $25,000!

No taxes paid by Neucel, Doug Bondue Arena in Port Alice closes

“Neucel owes us a million dollars and it’s pretty hard to stay status quo when you’re short a million.”

Dragonboat society requests new location for 80 square foot storage shed in McNeill

“Part of my concern for using lot B is that it could become a parking lot for them…”

Average Canadian family spends 43% of income on taxes: study

Fraser Institute’s consumer report shows taxes accounting for larger chunk of income each year

LETTERS: Doctors speak out on surgical wait times for B.C. patients

‘Governments know they will lose private clinic lawsuit’

Thieves steal supplies, tools and juice boxes from B.C. summer camp

‘Take a moment to think about who you stole from,’ says Burns Bog Society’s Mark Robertson

Women-owned businesses generate $68,000 less revenue than men’s: survey

When Dionne Laslo-Baker sought a bank loan to expand her burgeoning organic popsicle and freezies business in 2014, she was “shocked” by the feedback she received from one of the bankers.

Hedley frontman’s alleged sex offences case returns to court

Jacob Hoggard faces three sexual assault-related charges will return to a Toronto courtroom this morning.

Climate change likely to cause more sewage leaks, says environment minister

More than one hundred municipal wastewater systems did not report how much raw sewage overflowed from their pipes in 2017.

Priests molested 1,000 children in Pennsylvania, report says

The “real number” of abused children and abusive priests might be higher since some secret church records were lost and some victims never came forward.

Defiant as Trump rages, Omarosa says she won’t be silenced

Manigault Newman declared she will not be silenced by President Donald Trump, remaining defiant as her public feud with her former boss shifted from a war of words to a possible legal battle.

Most Read