Rabbit Tips

Recommendations On How To Keep Our Farms Safe & Clean During This RHD (Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Calicivirus) Period

Environmental Persistence of Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Calicivirus (RHD)

Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease (RHD) calicivirus is spread by oral, nasal and parenteral transmission.

The virus is present in urine and feces from infected rabbits, thus contaminated bedding can be a source of infection. Contaminated foods can be a source of infection.The virus survives at pH 3.0, is stable at pH 4.5-10.5, but is inactivated at pH>12.

The virus can survive for long periods outside the host. For example: “Viable virus has been detected for as long as 105 days in its dried state on a fomite (cloth) at    room temperature“.

Environmental temperature and protection by organic material are important factors in the survival of the virus. Virus may persist in chilled or frozen rabbit meat and the lengthy persistence of infective virus in carcasses may provide a reservoir of disease after outbreaks in the wild, as viable virus has been found in decaying tissue after 90 days outdoor.

  • At 50C (122F) the virus survives for 1 hour.
  • It can remain viable for 22-35 days at 22C (72F) but only for 3-7 days at 37C (99F).
  • It also survives freeze-thaw cycles.


The RHD calicivirus is inactivated by sodium hydroxide (1%) or formalin (1-2%) as well as 1.0–1.4% formaldehyde or 0.2–0.5% beta-propiolactone at 4C (39F).

Chlorine dioxide at 10 ppm concentration also kills this virus.

Other suggested disinfectants include sodium hypochlorite (1:10 dilution household bleach), substituted phenolics such as 2% One-stroke Environ (Vestal Lab Inc., St. Louis, MO), and potassium peroxymonosulfate (e.g. 1% Virkon-S by DuPont).

Because calicivirus lacks the fatty envelope that most viruses have, its infectivity is NOT reduced by ether or chloroform and trypsin or quaternary ammonium compounds.


Way to eradicate the virus RHD Virus

1. Disinfect your farms regularly with Sawke or any other disinfectants of choice.

It is popularly claimed and tested by some affected farmers that Sawke is a good way out of RHD Virus.

CEO Bella Farms, Mr Samson also said:

I strongly believe that if all rabbit farmers disinfect their farms, the issue of RHD will quickly die down. And as a matter of routine activity, let us use it to disinfect our farms. Master Y’s farm was affected few weeks ago and he has recovered from it after using it. He restocked his farm. He is now very bold to conquer RHD Virus based on his experience. He informed me of his encounter then and I advised him to market Sawke Disinfectant after making public disclosure of how he recovered from RHD Virus. This disinfectant is not a product of Bella and I have never set my eyes on it. The testimonies from affected farmers gave me confidence to recommend it and as a good example, I have also ordered for 3 bottles today at a sum of N27,000.00 as a preventive measure. As a good risk manager, you don’t need to suffer loss before mitigating it.

So we advice you get the popular Sawke or any other good disinfectant.

2. Let’s fortify our rabbits’ immune system by adding Organic Immune Booster in their water.

This should be a  routine that we should engage in, to generally improve the overall health status of our rabbits.

It helps to prevent the outbreak of RHD Virus in Farms, but not a cure. We strongly advice that farmers get the  Organic Immune Booster from Bella ,

for rabbits as a preventive measure in addition to the farm disinfectant (Sawke).

Alternatively, if you know any other strong immune booster, kindly use it. The most important thing is to fortify the immune system of our rabbits, disinfect our farms and ensure high level of biosecurity.

If we adhere to the aforementioned pieces of advice above, the normal rabbit business will soon commence fully and we will begin to smile.

Let all rabbit farmers disinfect their farms and boost immune system of their rabbits through any means.


1. Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease. June 2016. The Center for Food Security & Public Health
2. Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Standard Operating Procedures: 1. Overview of Etiology and Ecology. October 2013.
3. Viral Haemorrhagic Disease.  Butterworth Heinemann, Oxford, UK
4. Virucidal efficacy of four new disinfectants. 2002.
5. Bella Farms

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