Rupert the 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

Heather’s Hope Chest offers Chilliwack women and girls a helping hand

The new ‘free store’ for vulnerable women and girls provides them with household items at no charge

Rainbow crosswalk count will rise to 16 in Chilliwack

So far 11 rainbows are painted and five planned, all since council denied the first proposal in September

Brother of Chilliwack homicide victim killed in Surrey on Remembrance Day

Andrew Baldwin shot on Nov. 11, three weeks after Keith Baldwin shot in downtown Chilliwack

Volunteer organization provides first aid and rescue services

Main fundraiser, the Winter Extreme Ski and Board Swap, takes place at Abbotsford Exhibition Park Nov. 16 and 17

WATCH: Paralyzed ex motocross champion is returning to Chilliwack for book launch

Brent Worrall says he is living proof that no one should ever give up hope

VIDEO: B.C. to restrict nicotine content, bring in 20% tax on vaping products

Province will also restrict candy and fruit flavoured vaping products to adult-only stores

B.C. government working with RCMP to address $10 million in budget cuts

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth issues statement following report of RCMP cost-cutting

UPDATE: Metro Vancouver bus drivers to refuse overtime as transit strike escalates

Overtime ban could disrupt 10-15 per cent of bus service in Metro Vancouver

‘City that protects rapists’: Sexual assault survivor slams Kelowna mayor for defending RCMP

Heather Friesen spent the morning handing out flyers around city hall calling out the mayor

South Surrey man and city settle beef over backyard cow

Asad Syed, who kept a calf on his property last year, met City of Surrey in court Tuesday

Batten down the hatches: Wet and windy weekend on the way for coastal B.C.

Environment Canada issues special weather warning for Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island

BC Liquor Stores to move fully to paper bags by March

Vancouver Island to be the first to convert to paper bags in November

Tolko shuts B.C. divisions for two weeks over holidays

Head office to close from Dec. 23-27; two weeks’ downtime runs Dec. 21-Jan. 6

Port Moody mayor says stayed sex assault charge related to ‘awkward date’

Rob Vagramov said charge was related to a string of dates in 2015

Most Read