can bird flu kill rabbits

Bird flu, caused by avian influenza viruses, occurs among aquatic birds in nature and is highly contagious for poultry. Other animals, such as dogs and cats, may contract bird flu in exceptional cases. Nancy Beerens, virologist at Wageningen Bioveterinary Research (WBVR) in the Netherlands, answers five questions on if and how (domestic) animals may contract bird flu and how to recognise the disease.

1. Can my dog or cat get bird flu?

If a dog or cat comes into contact with or eats a dead bird, they may become susceptible to the bird flu virus. Consequently, it is strongly advised to keep dogs on leashes in areas with lots of water where it is possible to find dead aquatic birds. Since neither dogs nor cats have contracted the current strain of bird flu, our understanding of its symptoms is limited. An infection in dogs and cats may be asymptomatic. Should symptoms materialize, the animal will exhibit a fever, panting and shortness of breath, lethargy, eye infections, secretions from the nose and eyes, and nervous system abnormalities like shaking and staggering.

If your dog or cat exhibits any of these symptoms, or if they may have come into contact with infected wild birds, get in touch with your veterinarian. The NVWA can be contacted about pets in the Netherlands that exhibit nervous disorders and die after coming into contact with wild birds. Samples from live animals may be obtained and submitted to our lab after consulting with the veterinarian.

3. Can my rabbits get bird flu?

There is very little chance of infection if the rabbits are kept in the backyard. There are no known instances of the current bird flu strain infecting rabbits.

2. I keep poultry (chickens) and/or aquatic birds in my yard. Am I obligated to isolate them?

There are dead and sick birds with bird flu all over the Netherlands. Therefore, on October 26, 2021, a general housing requirement was implemented in our nation for private owners of poultry, aquatic animals, and flightless birds. This regulation also covers those who keep this kind of bird in their backyard. You could cover the coop with a tarp to keep the birds out. This helps protect the birds from infection. If you think your birds might be infected, get in touch with your veterinarian.

Avoid direct contact with sick or dead animals. When working with the animal, put on gloves and wash your hands afterward.


Can rabbits carry bird flu?

His study results offer the first significant confirmation that mammals can transmit the virus to birds. Skunks and rabbits are common visitors to farms across the country. They also are frequently found at the riverbanks and wetlands where waterfowl gather.

Can bird flu kill other animals?

Several mass death events have been reported in wild birds, caused by influenza A(H5N1) clade 2.3. 4.4b viruses. Recently, there have been increasing reports of deadly outbreaks among mammals also caused by influenza A(H5)—including influenza A(H5N1)—viruses.

What animals get bird flu?

Bird flu viruses have in the past been known to sometimes infect mammals that eat (presumably infected) birds or poultry, including but not limited to wild animals, such as seals, bears, foxes, skunks; farmed mink; stray or domestic animals, such cats and dogs; and zoo animals, such as tigers and leopards.

What mammals are dying of bird flu?

Dying elephant seals on the coast of western Argentina are linked to H5N1, the virus known as avian influenza. It has been circulating in birds for decades. Last year’s sky-high egg prices were due to a 2022 outbreak that affected 58 million chickens in the United States alone.