Vaccine for rabbit hemorrhagic disease now available in B.C.

The first batch of vaccine to protect domestic and feral rabbits from a disease that has devastated some communities in British Columbia is now available for owners and veterinarians.

The vaccine will be distributed to 50 veterinary clinics across the province

The vaccine treat rabbit hemorrhagic disease has arrived from France, where it is produced. (Nigel Dowsett/Shutterstock)

The first batch of vaccine to protect domestic and feral rabbits from a disease that has devastated some communities in British Columbia is now available for owners and veterinarians.

The B.C. Ministry of Agriculture announced Monday the vaccine for rabbit hemorrhagic disease has arrived from Europe and will be handed out to the 50 veterinary clinics that requested the medicine.

The disease was first noticed on Vancouver Island when rabbits started dying in early March, but it has since spread to Richmond and Delta in Metro Vancouver.

The vaccine is produced in France, and the first batch shipped to Canada contains all of the vaccine currently available, including 1,090 individual doses and a second batch is due in the province in May.

The ministry confirmed in a statement that the French vaccine offers the best protection from the disease and is only made by one manufacturer.

Rabbit hemorrhagic disease, which affects European rabbits, causes internal bleeding, organ damage and is extremely infectious.

To hear the interview with B.C.'s chief veterinary officer Jane Pritchard, listen to the media below:

The first batch of vaccine to protect domestic and feral rabbits from a disease that has devastated some communities in British Columbia is now available for owners and veterinarians. 7:01

With files from The Canadian Press