A Dunedin woman has quarantined her rabbit stud until her
litter of rabbits has been vaccinated against a disease
killing rabbits in Dunedin.
Kintella Rabbit Stud owner Pamela Platten (60) said she had
quarantined the 12 purebred stud rabbits from visitors
because the rabbit calicivirus disease (RCD) spread easily
and had recently killed stud rabbits in Dunedin.
''The calicivirus is like the plague. It's black death. I've
got to protect my bunnies.''
Mrs Platten, the Rabbit Council of New Zealand Otago adviser,
had heard of recent deaths of domestic rabbits in Otago -
four in Dunedin and 33 in South Otago.
The disease was airborne and could be transmitted easily, but
rabbits could be vaccinated against the disease, she said.
The stud would remain under quarantine until the two litters
born last week had been vaccinated. Otago Regional Council
services group manager Jeff Donaldson said the disease was in
Dunedin about three years ago and killed pet rabbits.
He was not surprised to hear about the deaths because the
drier conditions had suited the spread of the disease in
It had been a great breeding season for feral rabbits, so
that would have aided the spread to Dunedin, he said.
However, he was surprised nearly 40 domestic rabbits had died
from the disease, he said.
''Pet rabbits can die from lots of reasons.''
Saddle Hill Vet veterinarian Jon Hepburn said some rabbit
owners had come to the practice after their pet had
''spontaneously'' died. The owners could pay to have a
postmortem carried out on the rabbit but they had chosen not
to, so the cause of deaths remained unknown, Mr Hepburn said.
All pet rabbits should be vaccinated, he said.