Tag Archives: Nebraska Department of Agriculture

LINCOLN – The Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) is warning rabbit owners in Nebraska to be aware of a serious and highly contagious viral disease of rabbits that has recently been identified in multiple states. Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus (RHDV) has been diagnosed as the cause of death in wild and domestic rabbits in New Mexico, Arizona, Texas and Colorado, as well as domestic rabbits in Nevada and Utah and wild rabbits in California. To date, the virus has not been found in Nebraska.

“It is important that rabbit owners know about this disease so they can more closely monitor the health of their rabbits, particularly ones that may be comingling with other animals,” said NDA State Veterinarian Dr. Dennis Hughes.

Symptoms of RHDV include fever, anorexia, wasting, diarrhea and respiratory illness. RHDV can also cause sudden death in rabbits. The virus is spread directly between rabbits and can survive for weeks in contaminated environments. Currently, there are no approved vaccines licensed in the United States for RHDV, although a foreign-produced vaccine is being made available in states where the virus has already been identified. RHDV does not infect humans, livestock or non-rabbit household pets.

Enhanced biosecurity helps prevent the introduction and spread of viruses and diseases including RHDV. In addition to thorough cleaning and sanitation practices, rabbit owners should consider restricting visitors to their rabbitries, and isolating new rabbit additions for 30 days.

RHDV is a notifiable Foreign Animal Disease, and practitioners who suspect RHDV should contact the Nebraska Department of Agriculture at 402-471-2351.  Individuals who have concerns about unusual deaths of wild rabbit and hare populations are encouraged to contact Nebraska Game and Parks at 308-763-2940.

All rabbits entering Nebraska must be accompanied by a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CVI, or health certificate). If you are considering moving an animal into Nebraska from an affected state, please call 402-471-2351 to learn more. Additional information on Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus (RHDV) can be found on NDA’s website at:  nda.nebraska.gov/animal/diseases/rhd/index.html

In anticipation that the EPA will seek some type of further review of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit  ruling on the use of dicamba, the Nebraska Department of Agriculture will not issue a stop sale order.

In a statement on Saturday, Nebraska Department of Agriculture Director Steve Wellman stated that  until such legal process is concluded, the Nebraska Department of Agriculture will continue to allow utilization.

The San Francisco Chronicle says the court ruled last Wednesday that the EPA has understated or ignored the risks of Dicamba. The herbicide is used on tens of millions of acres of soybeans and cotton nationwide. But the court said it has caused environmental and economic damage by drifting to nearby fields and killing crops that aren’t genetically engineered to tolerate it.

“The Nebraska Department of Agriculture has not issued a stop sale order and will enforce the sales and applications of these products as they are currently registered in Nebraska,” said Director Steve Wellman.

EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler released the following statement on the Ninth Circuit Vacatur of dicamba registrations:

“We are disappointed with the decision. The 2020 growing season is well underway and this creates undue burden for our first conservationists – farmers. EPA has been overwhelmed with letters and calls from farmers nationwide since the Court issued its opinion, and these testimonies cite the devastation of this decision on their crops and the threat to America’s food supply. The Court itself noted in this order that it will place a great hardship on America’s farmers. This ruling implicates millions of acres of crops, millions of dollars already spent by farmers, and the food and fiber Americans across the country rely on to feed their families.”

“EPA is assessing all avenues to mitigate the impact of the Court’s decision on farmers.”