Alerts from the State Veterinarian’s Office

  |   Animal Health

Equine Influenza confirmed in Spokane County

A seven-year-old Thoroughbred gelding and a five-year-old Warmblood mare tested positive for equine influenza (H3N8) at a premises in Spokane County, Washington, on November 15. Several other horses that attended a local show were also showing clinical signs including coughing, fever and nasal discharge. Neither of the horses were up to date on vaccines. The reporting veterinarian is overseeing a voluntary quarantine of the farm.

Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease confirmed in Grant County

A two-year-old crossbred heifer tested positive for Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease on Nov 19.  The heifer presented with weight loss and bloody nasal discharge.  This is the fourth premises diagnosed in Washington this fall.  Previous cases were confirmed in Walla Walla, Franklin and Whatcom Counties.   See here for more information:

Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Vaccine Guidance Posted

Rabbit hemorrhage disease (RHD), a highly contagious and serious disease of rabbits, was identified in the San Juan Islands in July 2019 and on Whidbey Island in November. To reduce risk of RHD on their premises, concerned rabbit owners should step up their biosecurity practices. Rabbit owners in the quarantine zone and control area should discuss with their veterinarian whether or not to include vaccination as part of their risk reduction plan. See full article here:

Important points to remember:

  • Rabbit owners should be aware and practice the biosecurity necessary to protect their animals.
  • The vaccine should NOT be widely used.
    • The vaccine should be used for rabbits with immediate risk only that are in or near a quarantine area or where wild rabbits are infected.
    • WSDA established high risk area maps where the vaccine should be used (see link below).
    • Highest risk rabbits are those with direct contact with feral domestic populations.
  • The vaccine supply is limited.
    • The company does not have a large capacity for production, so use should be discretionary.
    • The vaccine is experimental and should be used at the owner’s own risk.
  • Diseases in wildlife are difficult to stamp out.
    • RHDV is very contagious and quite likely will depopulate feral domestic rabbits in a given area.
    • Other examples of wildlife diseases include Brucellosis infecting elk in the greater Yellowstone area, Chronic Wasting Disease in cervids, and Tuberculosis in the deer.

Quarantine and Control Area Map

Additional RHD resources

Information provided by the Washington State Department of Agriculture


Posted November 22, 2019