Essay

Can Rabbits Have Rabies: What To Do If Bitten By One

A virus that attacks the central nervous system causes the disease rabies. Rabies does not infect fish, reptiles, or birds; it only infects mammals. The majority of people in the US contract it from bats. Nevertheless, other wildlife species, such as foxes, skunks, and raccoons, may also carry it. Pet dogs and cats need to be rabies vaccinated in the majority of states. This significantly lowers the likelihood that you will contract it from your pet. Can rabies in rabbits, though? In this article, we look at the possibility of rabies in US rabbits and discuss what to do if you were bitten by one.

Can Rabbits Have Rabies?

Given that they are mammals, rabbits might theoretically contract rabies. Most likely, they would get it by a wildlife bite from a fox or skunk. Rabbits seldom have natural illnesses, but when they do, the virus can spread quickly. Therefore, if you get bitten by a wild or pet rabbit, there’s a chance that you’ll contract it. There are a lot of potential bites because there are around 6,171,000 pet rabbits in the US, according to studies conducted by the American Veterinary Medical Association!

Have There Been Cases of Rabies in Rabbits in the US?

Indeed, two occurrences of rabies in domestic rabbits in Maryland in 1999 were reported in the media. This is noteworthy because, despite the rabbits’ visits to the veterinarian in both instances, rabies was not identified. It was instructed to the owners to bring them home and feed them by hand or by force.

This increased the owners’ danger of getting bitten and getting rabies. Later on, it was discovered that in an area where rabies is endemic, one of the rabbits had been attacked by a raccoon. As a result, the rabbit got its ear sliced and was completely smeared in spit. Consequently, any rabbit with an injury after interacting with wildlife should be evaluated for rabies.

There are very few incidences of rabies in rabbits, and there are no known cases of rabies in people in the United States from rabbits. Because they are household pets and frequently interact with people, there’s a chance that if they contract the disease, our bunnies will infect us. Wild rabbits pose less of a threat because we interact with them considerably less.

What Do Rabbits With Rabies Look Like?

Simply observing a rabbit does not guarantee that it is rabies-positive. Usually, two or three weeks after infection, they start to feel sick. They stop eating, become feverish, and become restless in the early stages of the illness. Neurological symptoms like tremors, teeth grinding, and impaired coordination, especially in the hind legs, could be present. They eventually develop paralysis and typically pass away in three to four days. In rabbits, rabies is invariably lethal.

How Can You Stop Your Rabbit From Getting Rabies?

There is no rabies vaccine available for rabbits, unlike for dogs or cats. So, you need to make sure that no other animal bites your bunny! Keeping your rabbit indoors will help you achieve this. If you must keep them outside, pick a safe haven. Make sure the floor is raised and free of exposed wire mesh. Additionally, make sure your bunnies are constantly under supervision if you let them exercise in your garden.

What to Do if A Rabbit Bites You

If you have been bitten by a rabbit, you should consult a doctor to determine whether post exposure prophylaxis is necessary. This is the course of action taken by those who have come into contact with potentially rabid animals including foxes, raccoons, and bats. If the state or local health department determines that rabies vaccinations are necessary, you will receive rabies shots after receiving an initial treatment.