(CTN News) – Last month, a tragic incident occurred at the Little Farm in Tilden Regional Park, resulting in the demise of all the rabbits.
According to a report by Berkeleyside, the seven Dutch rabbits on the farm became sick and eventually succumbed to a viral illness known as myxomatosis.
This particular virus is transmitted by bloodsucking insects like mosquitoes and fleas, and it can also be spread among wild rabbits.
The unfortunate event began when one of at the Little Farm, named Jack Rabbit, fell ill and had to be euthanized in early November. A subsequent biopsy confirmed that he had indeed contracted the disease, as reported by Berkeleyside.
The remaining six rabbits were placed under quarantine, however, by the conclusion of November, there were no longer any rabbits remaining at Little Farm.
As a precautionary measure, the few rabbits that had not contracted the illness were euthanized due to the high likelihood of exposure. Jenna Cassel, a naturalist at the park, expressed the difficulty of losing any of the animals, as they are given names and become deeply cherished.
The strain of myxomatosis discovered in California is incredibly lethal, with a 99% fatality rate among domesticated rabbits, as stated by the College of Veterinary Medicine at the Los Angeles County Public Health Department.
Symptoms such as lethargy and eye swelling were observed in Jack Rabbit before his demise. Since the rabbits at Little Farm are housed in an outdoor enclosure, it is possible that the virus was transmitted to them through fleas or mosquitoes, as reported by the Mercury News.
The East Bay Regional Park District did not respond to SFGATE’s request for comment at the time of publication.
There is currently no known cure for myxomatosis once a rabbit becomes infected with it. While a vaccine is accessible in the United Kingdom, it has not yet been made available in the United States.
Established in 1955, The Little Farm serves as an educational facility for children and their families to gain knowledge about farm animals. It provides shelter to various animals such as cows, sheep, goats, pigs, and chickens.
The farm intends to introduce new rabbits, along with an upgraded enclosure system, within a minimum of four months.