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If my pet rabbit lives inside, can I contract rabbit fever from it? I would think that if it never goes outside, there would be no chance for it to become infected. However, if I take the rabbit outside to munch on grass or run around, maybe it could be bitten by a fly or something? Is the risk level very high?

  • Where are you located? Is rabbit fever prevalent in your area? – JoshDM Feb 27 '14 at 17:14
  • @JoshDM I'm located in southeast Canada, located in area noted for prevalence of tularemia on this map (page 6): cdc.gov/tularemia/resources/whotularemiamanual.pdf. However the uniform grey shade does not tell me much or how severe the prevalence is. – tM -- Feb 27 '14 at 18:55
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You can contract tularemia from your pet rabbit. However, whether or not your rabbit contracts it depends largely on where you live and what your rabbit is exposed to. Tularemia is generally spread by insects (like deerflies) and arachnids (like ticks) or skin contact with infected animals. (Although water can also be a vector.)

If you are in a particularly high-risk area, you might be able to get a vaccine for either you or your rabbit. There are also antibiotics available for the treatment of tularemia if infection is confirmed.

If tularemia is prevalent in your area, try to avoid biting insects and keep an eye out for ticks. If you suspect your pet might be infected, get them to a vet as soon as possible and mention that you suspect tularemia when you call. Avoid skin contact and, if you must handle them, wear gloves.

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