Covid-19: Is my rabbit at risk? – Rabbit

The pygmy rabbit is one of the favorite naks of the French. France has about 600,000 people. This small animal can be fragile, especially in the face of respiratory infections. In a recent study, researchers demonstrated that the SRASCov-2 coronavirus can infect domestic rabbits. However, no cases of Covid-19 infection in rabbits have been reported to date.

Since the start of the pandemic, 43 pets have tested positive (with or without symptoms). A tiny number compared to more than 34 million people with Covid-19.

Although rabbits seem to have suffered little from the current epidemic, scientists have studied their susceptibility to this new disease. And their conclusion is not entirely encouraging …

Are rabbits susceptible to coronavirus?

According to the ESA (Animal Health Surveillance) platform, 43 pets have now tested positive for Covid-19. These are cats and dogs.

All these animals lived in close contact with sick people. This very low figure is likely an underestimate given that pets are not tracked much.

On the other hand, minks, 4 tigers, 3 lions and a cougar were infected. Ferrets have been infected under experimental conditions. Conversely, studies show that poultry and pigs are not susceptible to SRASCov-2. How about our adorable pygmy bunny?

A recent Dutch study found that rabbits can become infected with the coronavirus after being exposed to a high viral load. The animals in the study developed asymptomatic forms of the disease, but the virus could be detected in their noses and mild lung involvement was evident.

This study, by revealing the sensitivity of the rabbit to Covid-19, should make us vigilant towards our rabbits, especially if they are fragile: old or very young rabbits, pregnant females, rabbits suffering from chronic rhinitis, obesity, cancer…

How to protect your dwarf rabbit from Covid-19?

Strengthen my rabbit’s immune system

“The microbe is nothing, the earth is everything,” Louis Pasteur had already warned us. A well-fed rabbit is more resistant to infections.

Choose good quality pellets and hay and give him fresh fruits and vegetables rich in vitamins and minerals: carrots, basil, parsley, broccoli, dandelion, strawberries, orange, pineapple, melon… Start with small amounts if your rabbit is not used to this type. diets.

Sports are also great for boosting your companion’s immune defenses against Covid-19: take him out of his cage regularly so he can exercise, supervised if he chews on electrical wires.

Covid-19: Is my rabbit at risk?

Graft my dwarf rabbit

It’s not just the coronavirus; Protecting your rabbit from myxomatosis and hemorrhagic disease is also important. Vaccination against these two diseases can be given from 8 weeks of age and requires an annual booster.

Barrier gestures: for my rabbit too!

Are you sick with Covid-19? Are you the contact person awaiting PCR test results? Are you afraid of getting infected after a social event? Just as you do for your human environment, protect your rabbit with barrier measures.

Wear a mask when caring for your pet. Avoid hugging and wash your hands before touching or feeding your rabbit. Ventilate the house well, avoiding drafts that are dangerous for dwarf rabbits. Don’t put a cage in the bedroom.

If these precautions are followed, the risk of infection for your dwarf rabbit is very low.

Covid-19: Is my rabbit at risk?

What should I do if my rabbit is sick?

Is your dwarf rabbit coughing or sneezing? Does his nose run? Contact your veterinarian immediately.

The likelihood of SRASCov-2 infection is very low, but your pet may have contracted pasteurellosis. This disease, caused by a bacterium, can cause severe pneumonia in rabbits. Antibiotic therapy should be started without delay.

Research is advancing to counter this coronavirus pandemic, which is primarily transmitted from person to person.

However, our pets are not completely spared. Like cats, dogs and ferrets, but to a lesser extent, rabbits are susceptible to Covid-19. So take care of yourself and him!

Isabelle Viksage
veterinarian

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See also: How to ensure the well-being of my guinea pig?

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