Anyone with rabbits, any kind of domestic or feed rabbits, should take a few minutes to acquaint themselves with the symptoms of RHD(Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease), also known as RCD (Rabbit Calcivirus Disease) and VHD (Viral Hemorrhagic Disease). This disease kills rabbits in less than 2 days. Agricultural authorities are very concerned when it flares up in the US, and it just did this week in Indiana. You can read the press release from the Indiana State Board of Animal Health , which lists the symptoms to watch for. This disease has been identified in the world since 1984. There is no cure, and the only vaccine available is not allowed in the US for many complicated reasons.
Here is the problem with this disease; it can be in Indiana today, and with folks traveling for the summer, in California, New York, Texas, Florida or Maine tomorrow. The virus that causes this can live on infected clothing for over a month. It is carried from sick rabbits on shoes, on feed, on cages, on clothing. You get the picture. There is no cure, and entire herds are euthanized when it is in the neighborhood to be on the safe side.
They suspect the original infected rabbits were purchased at a flea market in Kentucky and brought to Indiana a week/two weeks ago. Facts are still uncertain. For this reason, I am closing my barns to the public until 8 weeks have passed with no new cases appearing.
In all likelihood the health department will get a handle on this before too many more rabbits die. The last outbreak in 2001 saw the euthanization of over 600 rabbits in 4 states before they saw the disease halt.
If you have a rabbit that gets listless and begins to bleed from any body opening, call your vet.