Update from Young-Williams Animal Center

Young-Williams Animal Center is aware that a rare rabbit disease, rabbit hemorrhagic disease or RHDV2, has been found in two rabbits from the same household in Blount County. The cases are the first known in Tennessee. To protect pets in our community, the shelter is taking measures to prevent the spread of the disease and assisting animals in our care.

The disease is not transmissible to humans or to other household pets such as cats or dogs. The most effective way to protect rabbits against RHDV2 is with a preventive vaccine. Our shelter veterinary team is awaiting certification from the Tennessee Department of Agriculture to administer the vaccine. Once certified, Young-Williams Animal Center staff will vaccinate every rabbit upon intake and inform adopters that they will need to visit a veterinarian for the booster after 21 days.

We are actively working now to prevent any potential spread of RHDV2 at our shelter by:

  • Implementing advanced cleaning measures and isolating rabbits when they enter the shelter.
  • Requiring staff to wear gloves when handling rabbits.
  • Having the public comply with sanitation procedures before and after visiting each rabbit.
  • Advising adopters to keep newly adopted rabbits separate from other rabbits for at least 30 days.
  • Advising adopters to monitor recently adopted rabbits for signs of illness for 30 days.

Young-William Animal Center will continue to provide updates as information becomes available. If anyone suspects a rabbit might have RHDV2, visit a veterinarian immediately, contact the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency at 423-587-7037 and report the case to the Tennessee State Veterinarian’s office at 615-837-5120.

The Tennessee Department of Agriculture maintains a list of veterinarians in Knox County who are certified to administer the vaccine and have asked to be included. If you are seeking a vaccine for your pet rabbit, call your veterinarian or visit the department’s website to see the list.