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Fw: [Meatrabbits] Re: myxomatosis

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  • Pamela Alley
    ... From: catsandlops To: Sent: Tuesday, July 29, 2003 8:04 PM Subject: [Meatrabbits] Re: myxomatosis
    Message 1 of 4 , Jul 30, 2003
      ----- Original Message -----
      From: catsandlops <hlhrabbitry@...>
      To: <Meatrabbits@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Tuesday, July 29, 2003 8:04 PM
      Subject: [Meatrabbits] Re: myxomatosis


      The OLRCB message board had these things posted. The Albany open
      show on Sunday was even cancelled because of this outbreak. I
      haven't verified the accuracy of any of the following.

      Natalie

      There are two forms of the disease, an acute or rapid killing form,
      and a long-term, chronic form. In the first form, breeders often
      don't see a problem until the rabbit dies. You may see a slight
      redness of the eye a day or two prior to death. You may also notice
      that the rabbit does not eat well. In the long-term form of the
      disease the eyelids, lips, face and sometimes ears swell up to
      gigantic proportions. Another sign which will almost always confirm
      Myxomatosis is the swelling for the vent area in does and the scrotum
      in bucks. The rectal temperature will be 105 - 106.

      There is no known treatment for Myxomatosis. The only method of
      combating the disease is to immediately destroy affected rabbits. If
      a rabbit goes off feed, take it's rectal temperature. If the
      temperature is above 103.5, kill the rabbit and burn or bury the
      carcass. Because the disease is so deadly, it is better to make a
      mistake and kill a rabbit that doesn't have Myxomatosis than to allow
      one to live that does have it. Keeping flying insects out of the
      rabbitry is helpful in preventing the disease; however, the disease
      can also be transmitted by direct contact and by your hands. People
      living in Oregon and California should be very careful about sending
      rabbits to shows and fairs in the late summer and fall. Any sick
      rabbit should be immediately removed in order to protect the others
      at the show.

      this is the latest from the state vet's office:
      7-30-03 RABBIT DISEASE OUTBREAK A CONCERN, MAY SPREAD
      By David Stauth, 541-737-0787
      SOURCE: Dr. Donald Mattson, 541-737-6877
      Dr. Beth Valentine, 541-737-5061 Dr. Brad Leamaster, 503-986-4680

      CORVALLIS - The private and commercial rabbit growers of Western
      Oregon may be facing this summer one of the periodic epidemics of
      myxomatosis, a disease with an extremely high mortality rate that
      shows up somewhat unpredictably in the European rabbits most commonly
      reared in Oregon.

      A sudden outbreak of the disease in Linn and Benton counties in early
      July prompted the closure of rabbit shows at the county fairs in
      those two areas. But whatever combination of viral, population or
      climatic conditions caused these cases may also lead to more
      widespread outbreaks, according to experts in the College of
      Veterinary Medicine at Oregon State University.

      Myxomatosis, which last caused major problems in the state more than
      a decade ago, is extremely infectious, is transmitted naturally by
      mosquitoes or other insects, can be spread from rabbit to rabbit by
      human handlers and has no cure. There is no diagnostic test in live
      animals and no available vaccine.

      "The last time we had a major outbreak in the 1980s this caused a
      horrible problem in the Willamette Valley and Southern Oregon," said
      Dr. Donald Mattson, an associate professor of veterinary medicine at
      OSU. "It can have a mortality rate higher than 90 percent in European
      rabbits."

      There are a few primary precautions that rabbit owners can take to
      protect their animals, Mattson said. The most important would be
      mosquito netting, which may help protect against mosquito and other
      insect transmission. But animal handlers should be careful about use
      of such netting in very hot weather, since it may impair air flow in
      rabbit hutches. Beyond that, the best prevention is avoiding groups
      of other rabbits which may be infected, such as at rabbit shows or
      county fairs.

      "For rabbits, this is a very deadly disease," said Dr. Beth
      Valentine, an associate professor of veterinary medicine at
      OSU. "From the point of view of a rabbit owner, the best place for
      these animals is behind mosquito netting, at home, until the worst of
      the mosquito season passes later this fall. People who own rabbits in
      Western Oregon should be very cautious until this problem has
      passed."

      Myxomatosis is a poxvirus that has a natural reservoir in nature,
      perhaps among brush rabbits, the OSU experts say. It is far less
      deadly to wild rabbits, although they too can be affected. Exactly
      what triggers the periodic outbreaks among domesticated rabbits is
      less clear. It may be some combination of immunity levels in wild
      populations, heat stress, other weather conditions, mosquito
      populations and other factors.

      The disease is also not easily diagnosed, and often it's misdiagnosed
      by veterinary doctors who see it infrequently. Symptoms can include
      high fever, loss of appetite, swelling of mucus membranes or
      sluggishness. The underlying cause of mortality is a profound
      suppression of the animal's immune system, making them vulnerable to
      a host of other health problems. Nodules called "myxomas" may appear
      in some cases. But at times an animal has appeared fairly healthy and
      been dead the next day.

      There is no treatment other than supportive care for secondary
      infections, veterinary doctors say, and no vaccine is readily
      available. Experts are now getting information on vaccines that have
      been used with some success outside the U.S., but in any case it
      would probably be too late for a vaccine to provide any protection
      this summer, OSU doctors said.

      Some of the facts known about myxomatosis include:

      Myxomatosis
      first was described in Uruguay in 1989, and spread northward from
      there into Mexico and California, where it has evolved into
      the "California" strain of virus, which often has high mortality but
      fewer overt symptoms than some other strains.
      All domesticated rabbits in the U.S. are highly susceptible to the
      virus, but humans are not.
      Mosquitoes, fleas, mites and biting flies may all help transmit the
      virus, and it may also be carried in the air for unknown distances.
      In rabbit colonies, mechanical transmission of the virus is often
      observed, often by human caretakers or even the judge at a rabbit
      show.
      If a rabbit is exposed to an infected rabbit, it should be
      quarantined for 14 days and assumed to be infected during that
      period.

      It's unknown exactly how severe this year's epidemic may become and
      how far it will spread, the OSU experts say, although history
      suggests it may not move much beyond Western Oregon.

      In the interests of monitoring the spread of the disease, anyone who
      owns a rabbit that dies from an unknown cause should consider
      contacting their local veterinarian or arranging for an autopsy by
      the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at OSU, by calling (541) 737-
      3261. There will be a fee for the autopsy. It's probable that the
      disease has already caused many more deaths than have so far been
      confirmed because it cannot be specifically diagnosed in live animals
      and few people arrange for autopsies.

      Dr. Brad Leamaster, the state veterinarian, is collaborating with the
      OSU veterinary experts on the monitoring and management of this
      disease.

      "We'll try to monitor the spread of this disease as carefully as we
      can and keep fair officials and the public advised of any
      developments," Lemaster said. "At this point we're allowing officials
      in local areas to make decisions about closing down such things as
      rabbit shows at county fairs."







      Meat rabbits

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    • Kathybill Spaldingbrungardt
      Pam, Just a small correction: myxo was described in Uraguay in the late 1800s, not 1900s as stated in the article. Kathy Sebastopol P.S. I lost 4 rabbits last
      Message 2 of 4 , Jul 30, 2003
        Pam,

        Just a small correction: myxo was described in Uraguay in the late 1800s,
        not 1900s as stated in the article.

        Kathy
        Sebastopol

        P.S. I lost 4 rabbits last December. State necropsy confirmed it was myxo.
        There was another case in the North Bay in March. Perhaps much of the
        Pacific coast is in for another myxo outbreak.
      • Susan M. Smith
        ... 5 rabbits in the Chula Vista area and 1 in Oceanside/North County. This post about the Oregon outbreak talks about transmission by handler and through the
        Message 3 of 4 , Jul 30, 2003
          On Wed, 30 Jul 2003 07:22:35 -0800, Kathybill Spaldingbrungardt wrote:
          >P.S. I lost 4 rabbits last December. State necropsy confirmed it was myxo.
          >There was another case in the North Bay in March. Perhaps much of the
          >Pacific coast is in for another myxo outbreak.

          One of our California volunteers reports:
          >>Sadly, we have had an outbreak here in San Diego too. :(
          5 rabbits in the Chula Vista area and 1 in Oceanside/North County.

          This post about the Oregon outbreak talks about transmission by handler and through the air... I just spoke to one of
          our vets and he confirmed what I thought, that this is not typically the case. Has anyone else ever heard Myxo is
          transmittable by handler or through the air? <<

          Let me add that not all fevers are caused by Myxo, and euthanasia
          shouldn't be recommended just because a rabbit spikes a fever.
          I don't think that was the original intention, but rather just how
          some might interpret it.

          Susan S.
          Madison WI
        • Joyce Reynolds-Ward
          One point to keep in mind...this is a suspected outbreak, not a confirmed one. I ve been following the local rumor mill (and know the lady who sent it to
          Message 4 of 4 , Jul 30, 2003
            One point to keep in mind...this is a suspected
            outbreak, not a confirmed one. I've been following
            the local rumor mill (and know the lady who sent it
            to meatrabbits) and checking things out, and as far
            as I know, there's nothing definite (like a sure necropsy)
            yet.

            It's also been hot enough here to have animals die from
            heat stress.

            Rumor mill stuff, though, apparently a rumor made it
            onto Showbunny that an outbreak of myxomatosis happened
            at Multnomah County...I was the superintendent of the 4-H
            show, and I can firmly say that no such thing happened. We
            were releasing animals early due to heat stress and other weirdnesses
            (such as a drunk grabbing the Best of Show 4-H rabbit out of
            the cage and walking around with it on Thursday night, Thursday
            night seems to bring out all the crazies, the kid wanted to take her
            rabbit home after that and I didn't blame her), but no actual disease.
            I was being pretty generous about it because we were cooping the
            rabbits under a tent on blacktop, and one person's thermometer was
            registering in the 90s on top of the cages....

            So let's not panic...yet, but get suspicious deaths necropsied so that
            if there *is* an outbreak for sure, then the State Vet can take action.

            Joyce
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