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RHDV Biosecurity Measures

California continues to be plagued by RHDV outbreaks.  Herd safety for our domestic rabbits is our number one priority.  As an ARBA registered rabbitry we follow the recommendations for travel and shows as outlined by the association.  RHDV was already a state presence when we began our rabbit journey in early 2020.  As a part of our formative experience, we developed biosecurity standards from the beginning.  What do we do to limit exposure or transmission to our rabbits, other rabbits, and still travel? We go the extra mile.

At Home Biosecurity

  • All rabbits are vaccinated.  You read that right, the entire herd 10+ weeks old is covered by Filavac.

  • We routinely sanitize all housing with Virkon followed by power washing and sun drying.  

  • Spa liners are used in all apartment housing for frequent, fast, and sanitary cleaning.  

  • Fly control and deterrent methods include attractant bags, fly tape, bug zappers, industrial fly rope, and high power fans for continuous air movement.

  • Wild rabbit population does not exist within a 5 mile radius of the property because of our high predator population.

  • Our hay is locally sourced.  The grower and our distributor are aware of the possible RHD exposures from a wild rabbit population and we trust that they keep an eye out for suspicious activity in the fields.

  • Our feed is milled in California and ships direct from the supplier to our distributor. They are aware of RHD.

  • Supplements of BOSS seed and Oatmeal are brought in commercially.

  • We have farm shoes, rabbitry shoes, house shoes, backyard shoes.  I'm just kidding, we do not wear shoes in the backyard, that would be silly, we don't swim and relax in our shoes.  Anyway, shoes are a sector thing around here.  We also keep a good stash of plastic shoe liners.  Guests are offered liners for shoes if they are visiting the rabbitry.  Which is rare.  However, we do have vets, curators, and other business interactions that bring people to the farm.  So, plastic liners it is.

  • All rabbits returning from show are quarantined in the Rabbitech system I begged husband to put into the garage.  Yes, I gave up my garage parking in order to keep the show rabbits in a quarantine zone away from the main rabbitry.    

On the Road Biosecurity

  • All transport cages are bathed in Virkon, power washed, and sun dried.  This happens before and after shows.

  • All transport cages are lined with charcoal activated potty pads and changed daily.

  • We carry our own trash bags and all waste and garbage is sealed in our own bags at the shows.

  • Water and food cups are soaked in mild bleach solution and rinsed before departure and upon arrival home.  Sometimes we also throw them in the dishwasher for good measure.

  • We carry our own water.  Pellets and hay are sealed in plastic tubs with locking lids.

  • A 2QT dissolved bleach solution in an industrial sprayer is on board for tires and undercarriage of the SUV.  We bleach before arriving at a show.  We bleach when arriving back home.  This is done just inside the entry gate of our driveway.  The car receives a full hand wash and sits in a puddle of bleach and soap before rolling further.  It is a chore and we have it down to a science.

  • Routes to and from shows are mapped in advance, avoiding RHDV zones.  Stops for gas, hotel, food, etc. are pre-planned.  If I am concerned about my route in any way, I run my route approval through the host club.  This is a courtesy I extend to out of state clubs so they can be confident with our awareness and attention to detail.

  • The SUV is lined with rubber floors and rubber seat backing and the interior is also sealed with SB3 Fiber.  This allows us to effectively wipe down the interior of the vehicle and sanitize before and after the completion of a show.  Anything that would normally stick to the inside of a car doesn't stand a chance of sticking to the sealant and comes off with mild solutions.  No, I don't bleach the inside of my car.  Don't be silly I only do things to increase the value, not destroy it.

  • Hand sanitizer is our friend.  On the road, at our destination, after grooming, before a show start, between shows, sanitizer is our best friend.  Especially if I have clerked a show and have handled others rabbits alongside my own.  Sanitize, sanitize sanitize!  Virus and germ spreading is just not my thing.

  • Show shoes are a thing!  We have shoes specifically for show that have never been used at home, or running around town.  There was that time I was in a boot for breaking my foot.  But that time is passed and show shoes are definitely a thing!

I am always open to more suggestions that enhance biosecurity for my herd and for others.  It does not matter if you are a pet owner, a meat breeder, a show breeder, or a rescue; we owe it to each other to be supportive and conscientious of RHD and how we can continue to keep all our rabbits safe while we enjoy our animals in the way we do best.  You can always reach out via email if you would like to suggest an add to our practice or if you would like to use this list on another website.


Original Content

Updated 9/1/2021

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