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

Port Hardy RCMP cleared in arrest that left man with broken ribs, punctured lung: watchdog

The IIO noted the matter will not be referred to crown counsel for consideration of charges.

News from Port McNeill’s July 15 council meeting

Next council meeting will be held Aug. 19 at 7:00 p.m. and the public is welcome to attend.

Bradshaw’s Photo Highlight: Devil’s Bath is the largest cenote in Canada

“This trail is rough and should be executed with caution”

OPINION: MP Rachel Blaney takes aim at coastal fisheries restrictions

“We all share in the responsibility of taking care of our salmon habitats and populations”

Northern Vancouver Island regional science fair winners – 2019

Daniel Kornylo won one of the 12 provincial science fair awards.

Rich the Vegan scoots across Canada for the animals

Rich Adams is riding his push scooter across Canada to bring awareness to the dog meat trade in Asia

Vancouver Island teens missing after vehicle found ablaze near Dease Lake, BC

RCMP say a body discovered nearby not one of the missing teens

A year later, ceremony commemorates victims of the Danforth shooting

It’s the one-year anniversary of when a man opened fire along the bustling street before shooting and killing himself

Japanese Canadians call on B.C. to go beyond mere apology for historic racism

The federal government apologized in 1988 for its racism against ‘enemy aliens’

B.C. VIEWS: NDP pushes ahead with Crown forest redistribution

This isn’t the time for a radical Indigenous rights agenda

Two dead in two-vehicle crash between Revelstoke and Golden

RCMP are investigating the cause of the crash

Ottawa fights planned class action against RCMP for bullying, intimidation

The current case is more general, applying to employees, including men, who worked for the RCMP

Alberta judge denies B.C.’s bid to block ‘Turn Off the Taps’ bill

He said the proper venue for the disagreement is Federal Court

Most Read