The continued spread of Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus (RHDV2) in the United States is a serious concern for every rabbit pet owner. At Oxbow, we have implemented special precautionary measures to minimize the risk of this virus being spread via our hay and hay-based products. These measures have been implemented in addition to the extensive, long-standing quality processes practiced on all Oxbow hay. Measures specific to RHDV2 include:
Grower Education and Native Population Reporting
We have partnered with all Oxbow hay growers to provide education about RHDV2 and its effect on native and domestic populations of rabbits. Our growers are closely observing the native populations in their area and will be reporting any irregularities or concerns regarding population health. To date, no irregular behaviors have been reported across the Oxbow family of farms. In the event of a future report, we will facilitate timely communication with the state veterinarian of the state in question to ensure a proper investigation takes place.
Any Oxbow hay grown and harvested in a county with a confirmed case of RHDV2 will be isolated and quarantined for a minimum of 3 months from the time of baling. This hay will be isolated and stored in a location away from the field to minimize potential exposure to native populations of rabbits.
Only after 3 months of quarantine can hay from a positive test county be shipped to Oxbow where it will then go through our standard quality control procedures. Additionally, we have updated our standard quality systems to further minimize any potential spread of RHDV2.
Positive Case Data
Up-to-date information regarding positive test cases from the USDA can be found here. Oxbow’s Vice President of Technical Services and Research (Dr. Micah Kohles) and Food Safety Quality & Research team monitor this data and are in communication with federal, state and NGO organizations regarding the disease on a regular basis. To date, Oxbow has not sourced in hay in the 2020 season from a county with a known positive RHDV2 case.
Dr. Kohles and Oxbow continue to participate in multiple task forces at the forefront of evaluating and monitoring RHDV2. Key partners in these efforts include the Association of Exotic Mammal Veterinarians (AEMV) and the House Rabbit Society. Additionally, we are partnering with veterinarians in multiple states to assist with the importation of the RHDV2 vaccine, as well as working with state veterinarians and the USDA to best understand the etiology and movement of the virus that causes RHDV2.
From the beginning of the outbreak, we have been providing timely updates regarding RHDV2 via our blog. We will continue to provide these updates as the situation evolves and we encourage all pet parents to check back regularly to stay up-to-date with the latest information and recommendations.
We would like to thank all rabbit pet parents for the concern, safe practices, and continued vigilance as the community deals with the RHDV2 outbreak. If you have any additional questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out.