Nanaimo-area rabbit owners are being warned of confirmed cases of a deadly virus found in rabbits that were found in the areas of Vancouver Island University and Rotary Bowl over the past couple weeks.
The Animal Control Centre in Abbotsford tested three of the rabbits and determined they died of haemorrhagic disease, a virus that damages internal organs in the animal.
The ministry of forests, lands, natural resource operations and rural development suspects the others also died of the disease, with more testing in the coming days.
Rabbit haemorrhagic disease is an extremely infectious and lethal disease but is no threat to humans or other animals including dogs and cats.
This is the first confirmed diagnosis of the virus in B.C. and just the third in Canada.
The public is advised to not release domestic rabbits into the wild at any time.
The ministry says rabbit owners should take precautions when disposing of remains and contact a veterinarian for more information.
Rabbit calicivirus is a pathogen, which affects only European rabbits.