CALICI (RHDV2) / MYXOMATOSIS VIRUS PROTOCOL

In light of the recent outbreak of the fatal new Calici virus (RHDV 2) strain, for which we have no vaccination, and the ever-present threat of myxomatosis, we have implemented a special protocol for handling of rabbits who are deceased, or suspected to be deceased, because of these viruses.

We are accepting these rabbits for cremation, so the purpose of these protocols is to prevent spreading the virus further, as well as to protect our own pet bunnies from accidental exposure. We will still be handling all cases with the utmost respect and compassion despite these necessary steps. If your rabbit is suspected or known to have passed away because of one of these viruses, please see below for more information.

We will be providing two types of cremation services for calici and myxomatosis rabbits. One is our normal private cremation service listed on our services page. The second is what we call a “scattering service” or otherwise known as a “disposal/contamination containment” service. This is for two main groups of owners: those who do not wish to have the ashes returned, but want to contain the virus, and for owners with large numbers of rabbits who need assistance with containment of the virus. This will be provide on a below-cost basis, as an effort on our part to reduce the spread of these horrible viruses. For more information on this, please see here. All rabbits will still be handled and treated with care and dignity regardless of the level of service provided.
As uncomfortable as the process can be, it is absolutely critical to contain the virus as much as possible, especially if you have other pets, even if they aren’t rabbits (whilst the virus currently targets rabbits, we do not yet know the exact risk it posses to other species). We are arranging more information on methods that can be used to disinfect the exposed area and try to minimize the spread of the virus through touch and the risk to other pets.

The rabbit that has passed needs to be wrapped in plastic, then placed inside yet another plastic bag. This is called “double-bagging” and helps to prevent the contaminated surface coming in to contact with other items and transferring the virus. It is then necessary to immediately freeze the rabbit, as while this does not kill the virus or inactivate it, it does help to contain it. The rabbit needs to be kept frozen until transport or pick up is arranged for them to come to the crematorium.

If you are unable to store your bunny, please contact us immediately or check if your vet is willing to allow you to store them for you. We are trying to arrange a couple of locations where rabbits can be kept frozen until pick up can be arranged, for those unable to or uncomfortable with doing this at home, who are not local to our area.

We do strongly urge that testing be done in suspected calici cases, as this will help with the campaign for a vaccine, by providing statistics proving the impact of this strain of calici on domestic populations. You can contact your local vet to discuss this further, and we can assist in providing details of where the test sample can be sent in NSW. (This is done my means of a liver sample). We are also looking in to how we can assist clients in arranging this process on their behalf.
It is absolutely critical to contain the virus as much as possible, especially if you have other pets, even if they aren’t rabbits (whilst the virus currently targets rabbits, we do not yet know the exact risk it posses to other species). We are arranging more information on methods that can be used to disinfect the exposed area and try to minimize the spread of the virus through touch and the risk to other pets.

Your vet will have your rabbit stored according to the necessary protocols and we can arrange collection directly from your vet clinic. You will need to advise your vet that we, Furever After Pet Cremation, have authority to pick up your rabbit, so that they will release the rabbit to us when we arrive (this is a protocol for them to ensure pets are not misplaced or handed over without permission).

After you have arranged cremation with us, we will take care of the process of arranging a pick up time with your vet clinic.

We do strongly urge that testing be done in suspected calici cases, as this will help with the campaign for a vaccine, by providing statistics proving the impact of this strain of calici on domestic populations. You can contact your local vet to discuss this further, and we can assist in providing details of where the test sample can be sent in NSW. (This is done my means of a liver sample). We are also looking into how we can assist clients in arranging this process on their behalf.
No. Even though we will need to use more equipment than usual for safety purposes, we are not charging any extra because of this. This would be against our moral standards, as we feel it would be equivalent to “punishing” owners for something that is entirely beyond their control, especially after suffering such a tragic loss.
All rabbits will still be treated with the utmost care and compassion. We regret that due to the contagious and fatal nature of the viruses, we cannot provide fur clippings or paw prints and we strongly advise against taking these at home yourself, as the virus can potentially survive on surfaces for up 7-8 months. As much as we wish we could safely provide these mementos, there is unfortunately too much risk of spreading the virus and also risk to our bunnies at home as well.

We handle all pets gently and with great respect. Primarily we will be taking extra measures to ensure that contact between the rabbit and other items is minimized, and what they do come in contact with will be disposed of safely to prevent spreading the virus. We will be very diligent in wearing protective items, but this will have no impact on the level of care we provided to your pet.
Yes. Because of the high temperature required for cremation, the virus is destroyed in the process. As such, your pet’s ashes will not present any threat of spreading the virus.
Going forward, we will no longer be meeting clients at our premises, due to risk of contamination from clothing, shoes, etc. We regret this necessary step, but will be arranging to meet clients at a nearby location. If we are performing a pick up, we will need to wear special shoe coverings on to the property, unless we can meet you out the front, for much the same reason. Please understand that this is absolutely no reflection on you as a person, but merely a reflection of the extreme risk of transfer that the virus poses, as it is not killed by most standard means. Simply walking inside the home of an infected bunny puts us at risk of the virus transferring to our shoes and clothing, and we could then bring it home to our own pets. We also want to minimize any part we have in general of spreading the virus, by not tracking it to other areas on our own clothing and shoes if we can avoid it.

Any bedding, towels, etc that your bunny may have been wrapped in cannot be returned to you due to contamination. If you request, your bunny can be cremated with these items, but otherwise they will be disposed of safely.
If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us.
* Individual rabbits – a private cremation with ashes scattered on our garden. $10 service fee per rabbit.

* Groups of rabbits – choice of a private cremation or group cremation with ashes scattered in our garden. $10 service fee per rabbit for private cremation.

* Negotiable fee for group cremation based on numbers.

* A collection fee may apply depending on location.