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

North Beach clam harvest closed due to biotoxin results

Marine biotoxin results in closure for all bivalve harvesting from Wiah Point to Rose Spit

In Pictures: Rock the Plank! brings in the booty

Pirate-themed skate party raises $2,500 for new Masset Skate Society

Haida Gwaii fishing grounds are key to survival of northern resident killer whales: DFO

Plan marks waters from Langara to Rose Spit as critical habitat for northern resident killer whales

Masset suggests a simpler structure for Gwaii Trust

Change would parallel existing municipal, regional district representation for non-Haida communities

Grade 9s on Gwaii Haanas trip visit “the best spot on Haida Gwaii”

Now in its fourth year, Grade 9 trip gives Haida Gwaii youth a chance to visit Tanu and Windy Bay

VIDEO: Trudeau shuffles familiar faces, adds new ones to expanded cabinet

Justin Trudeau shuffles his front bench Wednesday to install the roster of ministers that will be entrusted with leading the Liberal team into next year’s election.

‘Amazing Race Canada’ competitors face B.C. challenge

They drove Corvettes, mastered falconry basics, and ate blueberry pie in the Cowichan Valley

Grizzly bear jumps in river, chases B.C. kayaker

The bear got a bit too close for comfort along the Elaho River near Squamish

Evacuation alert issued due to Dog Creek Trail Wildfire

An evacuation alert has been issued by the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako… Continue reading

Parks Canada looks to shine light on cloudy future for historic sites

A plan is in place to produce 10-year plans designed to turn around sagging attendance figures

B.C. poet shines a bright light on struggle with homelessness

Book launch for John La Greca’s Homeless Memorial is at Vernon’s Gallery Vertigo July 21.

Ontario police say attack on Muslim man was motivated by hate

Two men, aged 27 and 19, have been charged with assault in the incident

Canadian Tire delivers toys to ease kids’ street play pain in B.C. neighbourhood

It’s like Christmas for 11 kids who are supposed to be confined to their yards by strata bylaw

City orders largest Kinder Morgan protest camp to leave

Residents of Camp Cloud near the Trans Mountain work site have 72 hours to leave

Most Read