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Dog owners in particular should find out more about rabbit plague to protect their animals
There was apparently a new case of so-called rabbit fever in Germany. A brown hare was found dead near Aalen-Wasseralfingen, which was apparently infected with the pathogen of the dangerous hare plague (tularemia). Cases of tularemia were already detected in surrounding counties in 2016.
The experts in the Veterinary and Food Monitoring division of the District Office informed the public about a case of rabbit fever in Aalen-Wasseralfingen. The pathogen is particularly dangerous for hares and rodents. But other wild animals and pets can also become infected with rabbit fever. In a press release, the researchers warned of the danger from the pathogen of rabbit plague.
What is rabbit fever?
The so-called tularemia, which is colloquially referred to as the rabbit plague, is a disease in wild rodents and rabbit-like animals. The disease often ends fatally in the animals concerned. It is even possible for people to become infected with the pathogen. In Germany, rabbit fever is a notifiable animal disease. Tularemia is a bacterial disease that is caused by pathogens called Francisella tularensis. The disease is transmitted through direct contact with infected animals. If people become infected with rabbit fever, this can lead to serious symptoms. Hunters are particularly at risk if, for example, they break down hunted animals.
Dead and behavioral rabbits should be reported to the responsible tenant
For this reason, the Veterinary Business Unit is asking hunters to pay more attention to tularemia. But people living in the region should also be careful with brown hares found dead. Dead hares and brown hares with a lack of flight behavior should not be touched, the experts warn. In the event of a find, the responsible tenant should be informed immediately. The latter will then ensure that the dead animals are brought to experts who can initiate an investigation.
Dog owners should be particularly careful
The risk that dogs contract the so-called rabbit fever is lower than the risk of infection among rodents or rabbits. Nevertheless, dog owners should absolutely avoid that their four-legged friend comes into contact with a dead rabbit. Bunnies with behavioral problems can also pose a danger to dogs.
Dogs should always be on a leash
The Veterinary Business Unit advises dog owners in the region not to let their dogs run around uncontrollably. It is also important that dogs are always on a leash when walking when there is a risk of encountering an infected animal. Leashes protect the dogs from contact with dead infected animals and also prevent them from approaching an animal with behavioral problems and without having to flee. So if you live in the affected area and have a dog, you should leash your four-legged friend for his own protection. Bunnies without a flight behavior should be avoided. It is best to contact the tenant of the affected area immediately and report the behavioral problem. The same applies, of course, if you should find a dead rabbit. (as)